Fianna Fáil has raised concerns about the appointment of John O’Connor, the former Chairman of An Bord Pleanála, as Chairman of Eirgrid.

Reacting to the announcement by Minister Pat Rabbitte in the Dáil this afternoon, Fianna Fáil Senator Thomas Byrne said, “We need a guarantee that this will not pose any conflict of interest given Mr O’Connor’s very recent position at the helm of An Bord Pleanála.

“While there is no doubt that Mr O’Connor is a highly experienced and greatly respected professional, the relationship between Eirgrid and An Bord Pleanála must be absolutely transparent. This is particularly important as Eirgrid seeks approval from An Bord Pleanála for a number of projects concerning the electricity supply.

“Eirgrid has had substantial engagement with An Bord Pleanála during the period of Mr O’Connor’s chairmanship and particularly over the last six years as the North-South Grid project was the subject of an application and consultation with An Bord Pleanála. This high level of engagement will continue in the coming years.

“There can be no ambiguity over the relationship between Eirgrid and An Bord Pleanála as important decisions are made. I am calling on Minister Rabbitte to explain the process in making this appointment and to clearly state what steps have been taken to guarantee absolute transparency and fairness in all dealings between Eigrid and An Bord Pleanála.”