“Today’s statement by Minister Rabbitte about the Midlands Energy Export Project does not mean that the project has been scrapped – just that it has been postponed until after 2020”, according to Fianna Fáil’s MEP candidate in Midlands-North West, Senator Thomas Byrne.

“This means that, for the foreseeable future, the threat of wind farms and their related pylons and overhead power lines still hangs over the people of Connacht, the Midlands and the North East.  This is an unfair and cynical approach by the Minister.

“The Minister’s statement says that ‘it has not been possible’ to conclude an agreement with the UK on energy exports. In the same statement, however, he says that greater trade in energy between the two countries is ‘inevitable in the post-2020 scenario’. Essentially, this is Minister Rabbitte speaking out of both sides of his mouth on this controversial issue.

“I am challenging the Minister to make a clear and unequivocal statement on the record of the Dáil that this project has definitively been stopped. I am further challenging him to immediately start a total review of national energy policy for the changed circumstances of 2014 and to involve all the affected stakeholders in that review.

In the new European Parliament, energy policy is going to be one of the major issues. If I am elected to the Parliament, I will fight for a rational, sane energy policy that makes sense for people and is protective of the environment.