12 Nov 2019, 17.36

The ESB is being recalled before the Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Climate Action and the Environment following evidence from the Environmental Protection Agency on its ‘ESB Leaks’ investigation today.

The Committee chaired by Deputy Hildegarde Naughton is holding hearings into fluid leaks from ESB underground cables, which were reported in an RTÉ Investigates programme earlier this year. 

TDs and Senators heard evidence today from the Environmental Protection Agency on its investigation into the leaks. 

Speaking after the meeting, Committee chair, Hildegarde Naughton TD said: “Following the evidence from the EPA and the results of its investigation to date, the Committee will be asking the ESB to appear again, to explain its record and the failings, identified by the EPA investigation. 

“We would also like to hear again from Seamus O’Loughlin who bravely raised concerns about these leaks. From what we heard today from the EPA, he has been vindicated. The Committee would like to express its gratitude to him and RTÉ for bringing this matter to light.” 

The EPA investigation into the leaks has found:

  • There were 68 ‘historic’ leaks between 1993 and June 2019 and a further 7 ‘current and new’ leaks since June 2019.
  • While ESB Networks report that they consulted a relevant authority regarding 20 of the 68 leaks identified prior to June 2019, ESB Networks failed in the case of 48 leaks to notify Local Authorities in accordance with Section 14 (1) of the Water Pollution Act.
  • ESB Networks failed to screen the impact of fluid leaks, which occurred since 1 April 2009, for the applicability under Regulations 7 and 9 of the European Communities (Environmental Liability)Regulations 2008, as amended, until after June 2019.

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