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Dublin: 18°C Wednesday 23 June 2021

Eirgrid promises to be more 'community-focused'

The semi-state body wants to develop stronger relationships with stakeholders.

Image: Shutterstock/xiao yu

EIRGRID HAS VOWED to be more community-focused in its consultation process and how it engages with the public on its projects.

Planning applications for the Grid West Project will be submitted in 2015, with the project expected to be built by 2019. The Grid Link Project will submit a planning application in 2016. It is expected that the project will be built by 2020.

Consultation with the public

The semi-state body says it has carried out a review of its consultation process and found changes are required to improve “the process for future engagement to ensure that it is in line with international best practice”.

Under their new initiative, Eirgrid promised a more “community-focused approach” when developing electricity projects and to enable greater stakeholder participation from the outset.

They added that they want to change the culture and processes in the organisation and develop stronger relationships with stakeholders and communities. They also hope to better explain energy issues and make the benefits of a stronger system clearer to all.

Underground versus overground

At the beginning of 2014, the issue of pylons and overhead versus underground electricity cables dominated the headlines, with politicians weighing in on the issue and countless protests taking place in many of the affected areas, where people were unhappy, not only with Eirgrid’s plans, but that they also felt ignored.

The expert panel chaired by former Supreme Court Justice Catherine McGuinness, are currently reviewing the underground options for the Grid West and the Grid Link projects. This is in response to feedback from public consultations last year that people wanted to see more details on under grounding, said Eirgrid.

Eirgrid said the group are expected to submit their report on the project by Christmas.

Explainer: What’s happening with electricity pylons and why is it such a big issue?

Read: Underground or overground cables? No decision yet, but campaigners haven’t gone away>

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