Smyth demands immediate publication of North-South interconnector reviews

– Minister Naughten confirms both studies have been completed –

Niamh Smyth TDFianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Niamh Smyth has called on the Communications Minister to immediately publish two independent reviews which examined the feasibility of undergrounding the North-South interconnector.  The reports also looked at compensation packages for affected land and property owners.

The reviews, which were sanctioned following the passage of two Fianna Fáil motions calling for an independent assessment of the cost of undergrounding the project, have been completed.

Deputy Smyth commented, “I want Minister Naughten to immediately publish these reports.  They appear to have been sitting on his desk for a number of weeks now but no attempts have been made to make them public.  Why is this?  Is it a case that the cost argument for the undergrounding of the power lines is sufficiently strong to make the government’s current position indefensible?  Why is the Minister delaying? The Minister has for the first time in weeks of questioning admitted that he has the reports in his possession but the delay in publishing them continues. Minister Naughten says he expects to bring both reports to government in the coming weeks and after that they will be published. These delay tactics have got to stop. The Minister needs to publish these reports immediately.

“I have been engaging with the County Monaghan Anti Pylon Committee for many years and they have been outlining their frustration with the delay in recent weeks.

“This project will impact hundreds of people living across Cavan, Monaghan and Meath – many of whom do not want these high voltage power cables running over their land.  Undergrounding has been a possibility for many years now but this government has failed to engage with communities or listen to the argument for undergrounding.

“I am calling on Minister Naughten to stop delaying the publication of these important reports – the information contained in them will play a significant role in the north-south interconnector project going forward”.

Please find my Parliamentary Question on this matter attached. North-South interconnector Sept 18