Doherty has no confidence North-South interconnector will happen

Regina Doherty contradicts Denis Naughten, who said Brexit would not impact on the project

Some opponents of the North-South Interconnector want the lines to run underground.

Some opponents of the North-South Interconnector want the lines to run underground.

 

Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty has said she has no confidence that the controversial North-South Interconnector will ever be delivered.

The Meath East TD said that while the proposed energy project was facing a number of legal challenges, Brexit was the biggest risk.

On Thursday, Mr Naughten insisted the interconnector would go ahead regardless of the outcome of the Brexit negotiations.

However, when Ms Doherty was asked on The Michael Reade Show on her local radio station LMFM if she had any confidence in the project, she replied: “I have respect for Denis and I understand he has a job to do.

“I know if I was the Minister for Communications and Energy I’d have to do the same job. I wish Denis well...because I have absolutely no confidence that this project will ever be delivered.”

Ms Doherty was speaking following the publication of two reports on the project this week, one of which described the overhead option as the most beneficial.

The project comprises a 400kv overhead line linking an ESB substation in Woodland, Co Meath, with a planned substation in Turleenan, Co Tyrone.

The aim is to provide a second high-capacity all-Ireland electricity interconnector between the Republic of Ireland and the North alongside the existing 275kv overhead line which runs between Co Louth and Co Armagh.

Ms Doherty’s constituency colleague Fianna Fáil TD Thomas Byrne told the same show that her response was not good enough.

“It’s very clear to me what Government policy is in this regard, she’s responsible for that.

“I don’t think it’s good enough to be coming on local radio and saying something different from the Government policy that she subscribes to. There’s no way a Cabinet Minister could say something other than Government policy, but she is saying that. She was organising protests two years ago.

“If she’s right, I hope she’s right and that it won’t go ahead. But it seems like Regina wants to get through the gap on these issues. I think the public sees through it.”