THE government’s decision to look into the possibility of putting two controversial powerlines underground has been dismissed as an “stunt” ahead of the local elections.
Energy minister Pat Rabbitte yesterday confirmed that the review may not be finished until the end of May.
The local elections will take place in May – with many government backbenchers under huge pressure in their constituencies over the possibility of pylons being erecgted.
Now the government has decided that an independent panel headed up by former Supreme Court judge Catherine McGuinness will look into the possibility of burying the cables underground.
Sinn Féin EU candidate Matt Carthy said he hoped the reviews were not just “an election stunt to save the skins of Labour and Fine Gael councillors and MEPs in May”.
Mr Rabbitte has denied the reviews were timed to coincide with the upcoming local and European elections.
He instead insisted that the huge volume of recent submissions to Eirgrid on one of the routes – from counties Cork to Kildare - had driven the need for reviews.
He added that the 2016 planning submission for Grid Link might be pushed back by a year and a half.