Wednesday 17 July 2019

Serious concerns raised raised over Eirgrid's pylon plans

Niall O'Connor and John Downing

A delegation of Fine Gael TDs is to meet Communications Minister Alex White after serious concern was raised over Eirgrid's pylon plans.

The planned North/South interconnector was discussed at tonight's parliamentary party meeting after a motion was tabled by Cavan/Monaghan TD Sean Conlan.

Mr Conlan said there is deep concern over the impact Eirgrid's plans and that the company should hold a public consultation on an underground option.

The Taoiseach told the meeting he could not direct Eirgrid on what action to take but that a Mr White is likely to be willing to accommodate a meeting with delegation of Fine Gael TDs.

This approach would allow them to air their views, according to Mr Kenny.

Meanwhile, serious concern has been expressed within the Labour Party over nursing home costs.

A meeting of the parliamentary party at Leinster House heard complaints about the HSE with many members unhappy about a slow and poor response to their queries and advocacy on behalf of elderly people and their families. 

Junior Minister Ann Phelan said there is a real need for the roll-out of more HSE-run voluntary homes, nine of which are in the South East.

She told the meetings that the costs associated with these facilities are much lower than "high-end nursing homes" but the standard is still extremely high.

Ms Phelan called on the Government to become more innovative where it comes to nursing home reform. Her comments were strongly backed by colleagues.

The party is to have a full discussion on the matter at its meeting next week.

Meanwhile, once again there was support expressed for Labour TD Willie Penrose's proposals to slash the maximum term of bankruptcy from three years to one.

Environment Minister Alan Kelly said he is strongly behind the measures, although Fine Gael appears to have cooled on the issue.

The Coalition's mortgage package is due to be unveiled in the coming fortnight.

Separately, Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin spoke briefly about the new public sector pay talks - but did not give any detail on the level of pay increases being considered by the Government.

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