Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan Monaghan, Niamh Smyth has said that she believes the Minister for Communications, Energy and Environment, Denis Naughten is attempting to pull a fast one on the people of the North East by proposing a new study, with new Terms of Reference, that doesn’t deal with the fundamental issues at the heart of the North South Interconnector dispute.

“The Minister can trumpet his new study all he wants but it ignores the fundamental concerns of the local community.

“The simple fact is that there are major health concerns about the current proposal to over ground the cables, and that the impact on agriculture and heritage will be detrimental to local communities.

“I am disappointed to see that the Minister is attempting to claim that this new study is based on feedback from local people. If it was, it would be clear that any new study would be focused on health implications and damage to the agricultural economy.

“By focusing on compensation for land, the Minister is attempting to muddy the waters and avoid the nub of the issue.

“Worryingly, this seems like an attempt to divide communities by hanging the carrot of compensation in front of people. It is a divisive and simply cynical attempt by the Minister.

“Any study must investigate the concerns of local people. Anything else is superfluous to the will and the opinions of local people.

“Minister Naughten should go back to the drawing board, and initiative a detailed study and investigation into the health and agricultural or heritage concerns raised by local people.

“These investigations would, I believe, clearly show that the undergrounding of the interconnector would serve the interests of local people and communities better,” concluded Smyth.