Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Michael Moynihan TD, has called for the appointment of a medical professional, Dr Graham Roberts, to the expert panel appointed by the Government to investigate the viability of putting high voltage electricity cables underground.
Deputy Moynihan said the expert panel to be chaired by retired High Court Judge Catherine McGuinness, needs to have a medical professional on the panel so it can call upon that expertise in assessing if there are substantial health risks associated with high voltage cables.
“Fianna Fáil has consistently called for an independent international assessment to ascertain if there are any health risks associated with constructing high voltage electricity pylons near residential areas.
“Minister Pat Rabbitte announced that an expert panel chaired by Catherine McGuinness will investigate if it is cost effective to put the power lines underground. While the make-up of the committee and the Chairperson are of the highest calibre, the lack of a medical professional leaves the panel shorn of some of the necessary expertise it needs.
“Dr Graham Roberts is a medical professional of the highest order. He is the Head Clinical Consultant at the Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes at Waterford Regional Hospital. Dr Roberts is one of the top consultants in his area and the Committee would not doubt be bolstered by his presence.
“For the Government to have any credibility on this, they need to add a medical expert to give advice about the possible health effects of high voltage electricity cables coming into close contact with people.
“I am calling on Minister Pat Rabbitte to add Dr Roberts to the expert panel, a move that will go a long way to allaying the fears and concerns of people from Knockraha in Cork and the Comeragh Mountains about the ability of the committee to address all of their concerns.”