Labour Senator Denis Landy has said that following the public consultation period for Gridlink, the number of submissions is estimated to have exceeded 15,000, probably the largest number of submissions ever received during any public consultation process in the history of the State.
“This is an indication of concerns and depth of feeling in rural Ireland on the proposal by Eirgrid to erect an overhead pylon network between Cork, Wexford and Kildare. It also shows clearly that communities are standing up for themselves and want their voices and concerns heard”, he said.
The Carrick-on-Suir senator continued -
“Eirgrid should take note of the movement of people of rural Ireland that has built up around this issue. Eirgrid should not repeat their performance vis-a-vis the North-East Interconnector where, after the consultation period on that particular project they went ahead regardless of the call made by those communities for undergrounding of cables and submitted a planning application to An Bord Pleanála for an overhead route.
If Eirgrid have any regard for the concerns and the views of rural communities on the Gridlink route they must, at the very least, respond by showing proof that they are considering the whole option of undergrounding. It is no longer acceptable to the Groups of ordinary people in rural Ireland, that after months of effort being put into submissions for Eirgrid to cast them into the waste bin. These groups have incurred great expense, employed expertise, expended countless hours of their time and utilised local knowledge in order to formulate their submissions and to articulate the concerns of their communities. It must not be a case that Eirgrid use the consultation process as a reconnaissance mission to find the line of least resistance.
Eirgrid must be prepared to examine all submissions following this up by meeting with representatives of the numerous community Groups who have made submissions to discuss their concerns and act based on issues raised. Anything short of this from Eirgrid will only seem like going through the phases. Rural Ireland is up in arms on this issue and rightly so, they demand and expect proper treatment and not a fob-off as has happened in the case of the North-East Interconnector route. If Eirgrid is to have any credibility with the public it must start indicating a willingness to engage in the concept of undergrounding cables where feasible”.