MEP: compromise with EirGrid must be reached soon

MEP Sean Kelly, who discussed the GridLink Project with regional journalists on Thursday last.

MEP Sean Kelly, who discussed the GridLink Project with regional journalists on Thursday last.

A Fine Gael MEP has said that a compromise will have to be reached between EirGrid and the public as the ‘GridLink’ debate rumbles on.

Speaking to regional journalists at the European Parliament in Brussels on Thursday last Ireland South MEP Seán Kelly said it was vital that an agreement be reached between the energy supplier and the public.

And as the row deepens, Mr Kelly said it was time to take a step back. “We have to look at it in the broader spectrum and we have to look at reaching a compromise,” he said.

“What is needed is to step back a small bit, get the facts on the table and then try and reach a compromise.”

Mr Kelly said there are certain public concerns that must be explored, in his view.

“The EirGrid project is a big issue and there are a number of points that need to be addressed; the consultation process should be more intensive and they (EirGrid) need to take consideration of the people’s opinion,” he said.

The former GAA president suggested that the pylons should be erected along motorways “insofar as possible”.

But he also dismissed claims that the purpose of establishing the pylons was to export electricity to England.

“That is not true. That is like saying the motorway from Dublin to Cork is for Dublin people to go to Cork and not for Cork people to go to Dublin,”

Speaking about comments made by EirGrid Chief Executive designate John O’Connor, who admitted at an Oireachtas Committee meeting that he would not like to live near pylons, Sean Kelly criticised EirGrid’s approach to date.

“They haven’t been entirely helpful themselves in their approach and with some of the comments they have made,” he added.
His fellow MEP Mairéad McGuinness said that the concerns and opinions of those who stand to be most directly affected by the project must be considered by EirGrid.

“This idea of ‘No, No, No’ from EirGrid doesn’t stack up because people from right across the country have demanded it. The concerns, and the very serious concerns, of communities will have to be taken into account,” she said.

Ireland West MEP Jim Higgins, familiar with the issue given the corridor selection that’s been selected through Connacht, also raised concerns over the health, environmental and social effects that the erection of pylons would have on people and their locality.

“I do believe there are some health related issues with respect to pylons,” he said.

Mr Higgins also made reference to the possible devaluation of one’s property should a pylon route be constructed within proximity of a property.

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