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Sunday 19 November 2017

EirGrid power line review body refuses to meet with residents

Paul Melia Environment Correspondent

THE independent panel conducting a review of planned high-voltage power lines has refused to meet affected communities.

It has emerged that homeowners will not be invited to help draft its terms of reference, or meet with the group, given the "likely volume" of requests for meetings that is expected to arise.

The group, chaired by retired Supreme Court judge Catherine McGuinness, will examine plans by national grid operator EirGrid to erect high-voltage lines from Cork to Kildare via Wexford, called the GridLink project, and from Mayo to Roscommon, called GridWest.

It will also conduct a review of the North-South project from Meath to Tyrone.

EirGrid says all three projects are needed to allow more renewable energy to be used, and to improve security of supply. Opponents say a review of our energy policy should take place before any work begins, and that all lines should be placed underground.

In an email to local TD Jack Wall (Labour), the expert group said it would not be possible to meet with third parties, "given the likely volume of such requests".

It has agreed terms of reference for two lines – GridWest and GridLink – and is considering what "if anything" it can do regarding the North-South project.

A member of the GridLink Action group, which opposes the project, said he was "disappointed" at the decision.

Mr Wall said: "We can't seek to undermine the independence of the group."

The Department of Energy said the panel would make a public announcement "shortly", which would include its terms of reference.

Irish Independent

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