While several of the issues raised in the Question are matters for Eirgrid, and not ones in which I, as Minister, have any role or function, I will respond to the issues that fall within the ambit of my Department and Government policy in this area.
Neither the Government nor I seek to direct the energy infrastructure developers to particular sites or routes or technologies as was made clear in the July 2012 Government Policy Statement on the Strategic Importance of Transmission and Other Energy Infrastructure. That statement emphasises that these are matters for the developers and for the forward planning process through regional and local development plans and at project level through the development management process. In this context, energy infrastructure developers are encouraged to work with the forward planning processes at regional and local levels to set clear contexts for assessment of individual applications for planning consent and to facilitate as wide a degree of consensus as possible regarding how and where to meet grid development needs.
The Government, as detailed in the July 2012 Policy Statement, expects the companies in making their choices of project specific technologies and routing, as well as mitigation measures, to take account of all relevant national and international standards, to follow best practice and ensure value for money and be informed by detailed consultation at local level.