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Dáil Éireann - Private Members Business (Fianna Fáil)
Tuesday 14 February 2017


“That Dáil Éireann:

recognises:

— that the North-South Interconnector is a vital piece of infrastructure for ensuring a safe and sustainable source of energy for both Ireland and Northern Ireland;

— that communities across Cavan, Monaghan, Meath, Tyrone and Armagh are very concerned about the present proposals for the North-South Interconnector;

— that the recent decision of An Bord Pleanála to approve planning permission for the overhead pylon project did not consider an alternative underground option, which was not put forward by EirGrid;

— the negative impacts that an overground interconnector will have on the landscape of these areas, particularly on their more scenic and ecologically sensitive locations;

— the potential detrimental consequences for the tourism sector in these areas;

— that the present plans for the North-South Interconnector would have adverse effects on the livelihoods and farming practices of farming households along its route; and

— that some 2,550 homes are potentially impacted by the proposed overhead line;

acknowledges:

— the continued failure to address the concerns raised by local residents;

— the need and requirement that the communities concerns must be addressed;

— that considerable technological advances have occurred since the most recent analysis of undergrounding was conducted in 2009, such that the cost and technical feasibility of undergrounding the North-South Interconnector have changed greatly;

— that EirGrid has recognised that undergrounding the project is feasible; and

— that the present Programme for a Partnership Government, committed and affirmed the need for ‘much better engagement with citizens and communities about the energy policy decisions that affect them’ and committed to ‘effective community consultation on energy infrastructure developments.’; and

calls on the Government to:

— commission immediately, an independent report, incorporating international industry expertise to:

— examine the technical feasibility and cost of undergrounding the North-South Interconnector, taking into account the most recent developments in technology and experience gained from existing projects abroad;

— evaluate the potential impacts of both undergrounding and overgrounding the North-South Interconnector on surrounding areas, considering such aspects as its impact on local tourism, health, landscape, agriculture, heritage, etc.;

— analyse the real costs to date, and estimated future costs, of the current proposed overhead pylon project; and

— ensure that no further work is done on the North-South Interconnector until this analysis and a full community consultation is completed; and

— implement its commitment in the Programme for a Partnership Government in relation to better engagement and community consultation about energy policy decisions that affect them.” — Timmy Dooley, Bobby Aylward, John Brassil, Declan Breathnach, James Browne, Mary Butler, Thomas Byrne, Jackie Cahill, Dara Calleary, Pat Casey, Shane Cassells, Jack Chambers, Lisa M. Chambers, Niall Collins, Barry Cowen, John Curran, Stephen S. Donnelly, Sean Fleming, Pat the Cope Gallagher, Seán Haughey, Billy Kelleher, John Lahart, James Lawless, Micheál Martin, Marc MacSharry, Charlie McConalogue, Michael McGrath, John McGuinness, Aindrias Moynihan, Michael Moynihan, Eugene Murphy, Margaret Murphy O'Mahony, Darragh O'Brien, Jim O'Callaghan, Éamon Ó Cuív, Willie O'Dea, Kevin O'Keeffe, Fiona O'Loughlin, Frank O'Rourke, Anne Rabbitte, Eamon Scanlon, Brendan Smith, Niamh Smyth, Robert Troy.