Calleary dismisses Pylon review as ‘political stunt’

EirgridMayo Deputy Dara Calleary has dismissed the new ‘review’ of EirGrid’s pylon plans in Mayo and Roscommon as “nothing more than a political stunt”.

Deputy Calleary said the study, announced by the Minister for Energy Pat Rabbitte yesterday, is not fully independent, does not include a health expert and does not go far enough.

“All this does is push the issue down the road a few months for political gain. This is more about getting the Government parties through the local elections than listening to the serious concerns of people across Mayo and Roscommon,” said Deputy Calleary.

“Over the past number of months, anger has been mounting about plans to construct 400kV power lines in our local communities without proper consultation and proper consideration of viable alternatives.  Fine Gael and Labour are worried about how this will impact their chances in May’s local elections, and I believe this new review is a last ditch effort to save their own skin.

“While I do welcome the appointment of a panel to look at these Pylon plans, it’s extremely disappointing that the Government stopped short of a fully independent study as we requested. Instead of bringing in outside experts to carry out a feasibility study of moving the Grid West power lines underground, EirGrid is carrying out the study.  Why can’t this be done independently?

“Why is there no health expert on the panel? This is particularly worrying considering that the Health Minister himself raised concerns about the health implications of high voltage power lines?   It means that the genuine health concerns raised by many people about the GridWest plans cannot be adequately considered.

“If this is more than an election stunt, and the Government really is interested in properly reviewing EirGrid’s pylon plans they will enhance the powers of this review.  The review must be fully independent, must include a health expert and must include all regions of the country affected,” said Deputy Calleary.