Minister says Interconnector will benefit all people in Ireland but local groups have concerns

The controversial North-South Interconnector project has been given planning approval by An Bord Pleanala.

There’s concern locally over the project, which would see 400 KV pylons crossing through Cavan, Monaghan and Meath along a 138 kilometre route to Northern Ireland.

Those were the views of people in Carrickmacross to the news that An Bord Pleanala had approved the North-South Interconnector.

The project has been met with opposition since plans were first announced in 2007.

The 138 kilometre route will see pylons built across three counties, before crossing into Northern Ireland.

An Bord Pleanala released its report into the project this morning which says it’s decided to approve the project as this was the “most cost effective solution to satisfy current requirements”.

It also says the Interconnector “would not have unacceptable impacts on the wider area through which it’s routed”.

Hundreds of landowners and local residents raised their concerns at the 12 week oral hearing into the project earlier this year, the longest such hearing in the history of the state.

The North East Pylon Pressure Committee says it’s neither surprised nor concerned with the decision to approve the project and it will be challenging the decision through the courts.

Nigel Hillis from the North East Plyon Pressure Committee says that people power will prevail and that the community affected by the Interconnector are prepared to stand up and be counted:

Objectors had also raised concerns about effects the pylons could have on the health of people in the area but Environment Correspondent with the Irish Independent Paul Melia says those concerns have been addressed.

EirGrid has welcomed today’s decision but it says the project is also dependent on the outcome of a Public Inquiry in the North which is scheduled for February 2017.

It says “the electricity transmission network is considerably restricted in the north east and the introduction of the second interconnector will improve the security of electricity supply across the island of Ireland”.

But David Martin from EirGrid says the project still needs approval for the Northern Irish section.

Minister for Communications, Climate Action & Environment Denis Naughten, who has denis-naughtenresponsibility for the electricity network, has so far made himself unavailable to speak to Northern Sound today but he did speak to his local station Shannonside FM.

In a statement, the Minister said it’s “a critical piece of energy infrastructure that will benefit all people on the island of Ireland” and he must ensure that the State has ongoing access to secure and competitively-priced electricity”.

He spoke to Anne Norris on Shannonside FM this lunchtime.