The Meath East TD said “this afternoon I made my final oral submission at the ABP Oral Hearing for the North South Interconnector. I joined a room full of landowners, concerned parents and business owners in contributing to the closing statements of this public consultation process.
“I can only describe the behaviour of Eirgrid, throughout this whole public consultation process as arrogant and gravely lacking in respect for the public. I noted this afternoon in my closing statement, that it is almost exactly ten years since I first attended a public meeting in Trim, organised by NEPPC, for the initial proposal for the North South Interconnector.
“I find it incredibly difficult to fathom, exactly how Eirgird, ten years later, have made so many last minute, but substantial, changes to their planning application, despite having had six years since their initial application to ABP for the interconnector.”
Continuing, Doherty said “for the second time, we have seen a planning application from Eirgrid which is inherently flawed, in the form of what one can only assume to be carefully choreographed changes to 50 access routes, which have left both members of the public, and affected landowners, completely in the dark.
“As a result, we have been left unable to engage with these changes, and I am reliably informed, that some affected landowners have not even been notified by Eirgrid as to these changes, despite Eirgrid stating otherwise.
“Eirgrid, has essentially robbed Meath landowners and communities from being able to partake in what should have been a thoroughly democratic and transparent public consultation. I also share the confusion which was voiced in the room today as to whether ABP will be adjudicating upon this planing application either with, or without, the extensive amendments to access routes presented by Eirgird.
Concluding, Doherty said “again, I echoed the striking absence of a fully costed alternative undergrounding, or partial undergrounding, of the interconnector, which, in and of itself, most are in agreement is a much needed upgrade to our critical national infrastructure. We cannot, and will not, take Eirgird on its word, that undergrounding is not feasible for long-term viability and sustainability reasons, given its behaviour of late, and particularly its CEO, Mr Slye’s admission at an Oireachtas Committee that undergrounding is technically feasible.
|Pictured with Padraig O'Reilly and Amy Treacy from the NEPPC|
“I would like to congratulate all of the members of the NEPPC, and indeed the many hundreds of people who have together invested a considerable amount of time in presenting both written and oral submission to the board. Without their efforts, we would not have been in a position to make such a strong and thorough submission to the Board.”