CAMPAIGNERS IN Co Monaghan who are opposed to elements of the planned North-South interconnector project have called on Minister for Energy Eamon Ryan to clarify his position on meeting with them.
The Co Monaghan Anti-Pylon Group last week said an announcement by Eirgrid that it will spend millions on a new application for planning permission for the high-voltage power line was a “perversion” of the planning process.
It has sought meetings with Mr Ryan, but he has said it would not be appropriate for him to intervene.
An error in the original application for the €280 million line through Meath, Cavan and Monaghan forced the State’s electricity network operator, Eirgrid, to withdraw the application on June 29th midway through a Bord Pleanála hearing into the issue.
In a statement, the anti-pylon group said Mr Ryan’s Green Party colleague, Trevor Sargent, had previously claimed he had secured the Minister’s intervention on behalf of his own constituents, in relation to the east-west interconnector pipeline between Ireland and Wales.
Eirgrid was granted permission by An Bord Pleanála for that project last year, but it is opposed by residents of Rush in north Dublin over health and safety concerns. In August, Mr Ryan contacted Eirgrid over the possibility of changing the route to avoid Rush. Mr Sargent said at the time he was “delighted” the people of Rush would be able to discuss their concerns directly with the chief executive of Eirgrid following discussions with the Minister.
In response to criticism from the Monaghan group last week, Mr Ryan’s office said he “does not intervene in the day-to-day planning in relation to transmission infrastructure”.
A statement added: “It would not therefore be appropriate for the Minister to intervene in any way on issues arising from the planning process.”
The anti-pylon group yesterday called for clarification on the matter and accused the Green Party of “trampling on the concerns of rural voters” while bending over backwards in defence of its urban base.
“As representatives of over 10,000 residents and landowners across Co Monaghan who are concerned about elements of this project, we have repeatedly and courteously sought a meeting with Mr Ryan to discuss our concerns and seek his assistance,” the group said. It called on Mr Ryan to “immediately clarify” why he felt it appropriate to intervene in relation to the east-west interconnector project in Rush, but felt it inappropriate to intervene in relation to the North-South project a few miles up the road.