Ireland North West – Midlands MEP Pat the Cope Gallagher has today welcomed the decision of the Energy Minister Pat Rabbitte to establish an expert panel chaired by former Supreme Court Justice Catherine McGuinness to examine the options for undergrounding the Grid Link from Cork to Kildare and Grid West from Mayo to Roscommon.

However, the decision to exclude the North East from the remit of the expert panel is “extremely difficult to understand” according to Mr Gallagher.

Mr Gallagher stated today:

“The establishment of an independent expert panel chaired by Catherine McGuinness is a step in the right direction. The proposed plan has lacked the support of local communities throughout Ireland from day one due to health concerns and due to the intrusive nature of the project. I believe that local communities can have full confidence in Catherine McGuinness as an independent voice to fully examine the feasibility of undergrounding these high voltage power lines where possible. However, any investigation which omits the North East is totally unacceptable and deeply unfair to the communities involved. I call on the Minister to immediately reconsider and include the North South Link interconnector.”