Labour Senator Denis Landy has confirmed his belief that Minister Pat Rabbitte is prepared to listen to the concerns of people living in rural Ireland about the build-out of Grid 25, by Eirgrid across the country using pylons and overhead lines.
Senator Landy, who was responsible for initiating a meeting on the fringes of the Labour Party Conference in Killarney over the weekend at which over a hundred Labour Party Public Representatives attended from across eight counties, said that he now believes that the way forward for this issue is for a new cost benefit analysis to be carried out by an independent body.
This cost benefit analysis should take into account the real cost of undergrounding as opposed to overhead pylons. It should analyse property devaluation, visual amenity, impact on tourism and health issues. This should be done over fifty years life cycle incorporating maintenance cost of the overhead network versus underground installations.
“I believe if such an analysis is done, this will prove that the current figure of 3 to 1 cost of underground versus overhead will be blown out of the water. In fact some research that I have seen on this issue indicates to me that underground will actually be cheaper overall. It is for this reason that I am again calling on the Minister to have this cost benefit analysis done. It would be logical to proceed to this process after the consultation date of the 7th of January 2014 has passed and this is what I have requested”
Senator Landy said that he would be raising this matter again this week at the Labour Parliamentary Party meeting on Wednesday. He is encouraged by the number of Councillors, Senators and TDs who attended the meeting in Killarney to speak frankly and openly to the minister of their concerns on this issue.
He has again reiterated his commitment to finding a full and proper solution to this very worrying proposal and he believes that common sense will prevail. He thinks the Minister has had a change of attitude and is now listening and taking on board the very real concerns of the people from rural Ireland as represented by Labour Councillors, TDs and Senators at the meeting in Killarney on Saturday.