Cavan-Monaghan Deputy Brendan Smith has hit out at the Government and Eirgrid for failing to consider alternatives to massive pylons along the North South Interconnector.

The Fianna Fáil Deputy has reacted angrily to plans published by Eirgrid today which offer no alternative to high voltage overhead power-lines linking Meath and Tyrone.

“This is extremely disappointing news for the communities that have campaigned tirelessly for a safer alternative to constructing massive pylons on their doorsteps. Their concerns about impact on health, safety and the environment have been completely ignored,” said Deputy Smith.

“It has become very clear that there was never any real intention to find safer alternatives to the massive pylon project planned for the North East.  Under the new plans published, Eirgrid is proposing much better alternatives for its Grid Link project in the South East and its Grid West project.  This includes moving much of the power lines underground in the West, which Eirgrid has said is made possible by advances in technology.  Why is it that this region cannot also benefit from these technological advances?

“Very serious questions remain about how these overhead high voltage lines will impact on the health and safety of local communities and on the environment and tourism in the areas along the route. These questions have not been addressed at all despite repeated promises from the Government that they would.  No meaningful effort was ever made to engage with the local communities and address the very real concerns that they have.

“Fine Gael has just kicked to touch time and time again to get through bye-elections and the local and European elections.  Their promises to communities here in the North East have proved completely empty.  It’s high time that the Government TDs here in Cavan-Monaghan and in Meath started to stand up for the communities that they are supposed to represent.”