Sunday 18 March 2018

Coalition doesn't have to abide by the panel's findings, says Rabbitte


fionnan sheahan

COMMUNICATIONS Minister Pat Rabbitte has admitted the Government is not bound to abide by the findings of an independent investigation into pylons.

The minister conceded the Coalition was not pledging to implement the recommendations of the expert panel.

"I think I will have to discuss that. The panel hasn't been assembled yet and I think I will have to discuss that with them. I don't see circumstances where Government would ever hand over to any other body its sovereign right to make decisions as it sees fit and I don't think I have ever been asked to do that," he said.

Mr Rabbitte said a decision will ultimately have to be taken by the Government.

"I suspect that will be the case, that, you know, I could be presented with some very thorny outcomes, but it is my job to ensure that the country has a transmission system fit for purpose and that it is safe, secure and affordable in terms of the public interest.

"It may well be that I will have to bring proposals to Government that colleagues mightn't like in some regard but that is the nature of the business," he said on the 'Pat Kenny Show' on Newstalk.

Mr Rabbitte said the independent investigation would set out a comparison of the overhead versus underground options for the power cables.

"The first thing that will happen is that when the reports are published, they will go out to public consultation in direct comparison to the reports on overhead, so that people, people have been complaining that, yes, they have been advised through the consultation process about the merits of overhead high-tension cables.

"But what they were asking for was to be able to make a comparative analysis, so that whatever report is published will be put out, along with the overhead option, to the people in public consultation," he said.

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News