Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Michael Moynihan TD, has expressed his disappointment over the lack of a fully independent review of the Grid Link and Grid West Projects despite the 35,000 submissions received by EirGrid.
While welcoming the appointment of Justice Catherine McGuinness and an expert panel to oversee the quality of the route options presented by EirGrid, Deputy Moynihan criticised the fact that EirGrid will be the body responsible for carrying out the studies regarding the possibility of fully undergrounding power lines for both Grid Link and Grid West.
Deputy Moynihan stated: “I acknowledge the fact the Minister has appointed an expert panel to oversee the route options of the Grid Link and Grid West proposals. However, the fact that EirGrid will be the body commissioned to carry out the study on those routes will not satisfy the communities across this country that have already lost confidence in this process. What we need, and what we have continuously called for, is an international independent assessment of the EirGrid proposals. This proposed study should be carried out by independent experts in their field, not by EirGrid.
“The Minister’s proposed independent panel will only be able to examine the studies produced by EirGrid. This is not an independent assessment. It is a halfway house which will not restore confidence in this process. EirGrid has already expressed its preference for the overhead power line option. How then can they assess both underground and overhead options in objective and comparable terms given this fact?”
Deputy Moynihan went on to criticise the failure to include other EirGrid proposals in this review, notably the North-South 400 kV Interconnection Development:
“This review should include all national projects currently being proposed by EirGrid. The concerns raised by communities in the South, South-East and West are the same concerns held by communities in the North-East and elsewhere where EirGrid have proposals to erect new pylons. They should not be excluded in this review.”