THERE HAS been angry exchanges in the Dáil over the controversial Eirgrid connector through Rush with a local TD claiming that 'seriously inaccurate' information was given to an oral hearing on the project.
There was a heated exchange between Deputy Clare Daly TD (SP) and the Minister for Energy and Communications, Pat Rabbitte over what Deputy Daly called ' the minister's refusal to intervene in relation to the fact that it has emerged that Eirgrid submitted seriously inaccurate information during the oral hearing into the East West Interconnector'. Deputy Daly claimed that there was ' very serious potential health effects for residents, especially children' from the project. Deputy Daly was questioning the Minister in relation to whether he was satisfied with the electro magnetic field information submitted by Eirgrid to An Bord Pleanala. However, Minister Rabbitte said there was ' no reason to believe that any relevant information in relation to EMF had been withheld or misrepresented' but Deputy Daly slammed the Labour minister's response. He added: ' I tested her propositions with Eirgrid and I am satisfied the material that I have put on the record of the House is the honest and best assessment available to me.' 'Deputy Daly is correct in one regard, that is, that I met Rush Community Council and as a result of that meeting, I re-tested the claims it makes that Eirgrid withheld or misrepresented data on EMF during the planning process. ' These allegations are categorically refuted by Eirgrid. Subsequent to that meeting, I advised Rush Community Council of the conclusions to which I had come.' She said: ' The Minister has every reason to believe that this happened. This information was brought to his attention, where Rush Community Council explained how Eirgrid had incorrectly stated during the planning process that the magnetic field would be static only. ' They now admit that the actual magnetic filed will have a time varying component, and that this knew this all along, but try to say that this information is insignificant. This is absolutely not the case.' The Socialist Part TD went on to quote from Professor Anthony Staines, a former advisor to the Government, who she said believed that ' evidence as to the induced magnetic field presented at the oral hearing was seriously inaccurate'. Deputy Daly said that the potential health risks of the system's magnetic field has not been assessed or the risk to childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and she called for ' an immediate inquiry and full re-examination of the planning process' around the project. Deputy Daly said: ' That minister Rabbitte dismisses these concerns is an affront to the community of Rush. It is now up to the Minister for Health, Dublin north's Dr. Reilly to immediately take action. 'Failure to act is akin to criminal neglect of residents in the area and particularly children. I really hope that residents get active again and demand that Eirgrid are called to account.' Minister Rabbitte added: ' I have full confidence in Eirgrid's commitment to complete the east-west interconnector successfully to the highest safety standards in the national interest and without risk to the health and safety of local communities.'