Kenny calls for ‘rational’ debate in pylon controversy

FF leader repeats call for independent international assessment

Wed, Dec 11, 2013, 13:20

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has called for “a degree of common sense and rational discussion’’ on the Eirgrid plan to erect pylons.

“I think we can all agree that we cannot leave our country bereft of opportunities for the future,’’ he said. “That means you must have an infrastructure capable of providing electric power for industry, business and homes.”

Mr Kenny said the Government did not speak for Eirgrid and had no function in determining whether it should recommend a location, or series of locations, for pylons. He added that an assessment by the previous government of underground pylons would cost three times as much as putting them overground.

The Taoiseach was replying in the Dáil today to Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, who called for an independent international assessment of Eirgrid’s 25 set of proposals for upgrading and expanding the national grid using overhead pylons only.

“This has caused genuine concerns across the country in many different counties, where thousands of people literally have turned up at public meetings to voice their anger and concern over a range of issues such as health, the impact on the character of our landscape, cultural heritage and residential housing and amenities,’’ he added.

Mr Martin said there had not been a full and meaningful consultation.

Mr Kenny said Fianna Fáil was not very clear on what it was proposing. “I think that, as leader of Fianna Fáil, you understand very well the fact that we cannot leave our country bereft of infrastructure for investment and, unfortunately, we have not yet arrived at a point where you can transmit power without cables,’’ he added.