Former Bord Pleanála chairman should not be appointed to chair Eirgrid, FF claims
Birds and bees being taken account of but not people and where they live – Fine Gael TD
Fine Gael’s Helen McEntee said a lot of people were very upset and angry about the issue. She said issues that needed to be looked at, including overhead or underground pylons, the cost of both, health issues, impact on tourism, heritage and property values. These issues had all been raised but the questions about them had not been answered.
Fianna Fáil has called for the Government to reject Minister for Energy Pat Rabbitte’s proposal to appoint former chairman of An Bord Pleanála John O’Connor as chairman of
The party’s transport spokesman Timmy Dooley said the transport and communications committee will vote next week on a motion not to proceed with the appointment.He last night asked the Minister not to confirm the appointment until the vote had taken place.
The Clare TD said there was a perception that Mr O’Connor was nominated because of his “unique insight and knowledge of the planning process”.
Mr Dooley stressed he had no questions about Mr O’Connor’s integrity, adding that he was a fine public servant. But he said it created the perception of an unfair advantage for EirGrid in the planning process.
He said it sent a negative message to the small groups of community leaders fighting against the EirGrid Goliath and its might.
Mr Dooley was speaking during the second night of debate on a Fianna Fáil motion calling for an independent international assessment of Grid25, EirGrid’s proposal to update the electricity transmission grid through overhead pylons.
Fine Gael Mayo TD John O’Mahony said the issue of underground pylons had not been addressed in clear, precise terms. “On some occasions it’s costing six times as much, on others three times as much” as overground pylons, he said. He asked if the technology would be upgraded before the pylons were erected and would the cost be less than three times.
He added that “the birds and the bees are being taken account of but the people and where they live hasn’t been”.
Minister of State Fergus O’Dowd said EirGrid would update the Oireachtas in the new year. “I do think in the meantime EirGrid must be given the time and space to reflect properly over the next few weeks and give due consideration to all the points made so as to minimise the potential impacts in many of the comments highlighted to date.”
Fianna Fáil’s Dara Calleary repeated widespread criticism of the consultation process. He also criticised the failure of EirGrid to reveal how much it had spent on fees to date on the project, stating that it was commercial information. But Mr Calleary said it was taxpayers’ money.
Fine Gael’s Helen McEntee said a lot of people were very upset and angry about the issue. She said issues that needed to be looked at, including overhead or underground pylons, health issues, impact on tourism, heritage and property values. These issues had all been raised but the questions had not been answered.