Doherty to back campaign against electricity interconnector

Chief Whip will ‘fully support’ farmers and landowners in ‘civil disobedience’ action

Regina Doherty has said she will support farmers and landowners in counties Meath, Cavan and Monaghan who intend to engage in a campaign of “civil disobedience” against an electricity interconnector. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Regina Doherty has said she will support farmers and landowners in counties Meath, Cavan and Monaghan who intend to engage in a campaign of “civil disobedience” against an electricity interconnector. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

The Government Chief Whip Regina Doherty has said she will support farmers and landowners in counties Meath, Cavan and Monaghan who intend to engage in a campaign of “civil disobedience” against a proposed electricity interconnector linking North and South.

In a statement to RTÉ on Thursday morning, Ms Doherty, who earlier told The Irish Times that her opposition to the line was more important than her job, said there would be “a phase of civil disobedience to hamper the decision made by An Bord Pleanála”.

“I fully support the farmers and landowners in that action,” she said.

On Wednesday, the board approved the plans for overground cable supported by pylons to facilitate the interconnector which will run between Co Meath and Co Tyrone. Residents and campaigners sought for the lines to put run underground.

Ms Doherty has appeared to put her position at Cabinet on the line, pledging to remain in Government to try to have the decision of the planning authority overturned.

“In terms of my position in Government, I have one last chance to work to get this decision overturned and I am going to remain in Government to use that chance,” she said.

While a judicial review of the planning decision is virtually certain, thus postponing a final resolution of the plan for months and possibly years, Ms Doherty’s position at Cabinet would become extremely difficult if she was supporting a campaign of civil disobedience in the ground.