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Homes within 50m of Eirgrid pylons will be considered for compensation

Sean Conlon TD said the Taoiseach told him last night the North South Interconnector would be reviewed by the independent panel.

IF EIRGRID ARE unable to route the pylons more than 50 metres away from homes, they will engage with residents about compensation, said the Chief Executive of Eirgrid Fintan Slye.

Speaking on RTE’s Morning Ireland today about the new independent commission that will examine the possibility of putting high-voltage power lines underground instead of on large pylons, Slyle said “where, despite our best efforts we are unable to route the line more than 50 metre away we will engage” but he added that these would be “exceptional cases”.

Compensation

When asked if people would be given compensation up to the value of their homes, Slye said: “It is certainly something we will consider.” He added, however, that some people may not want to move in any event.

In early January, Rabbitte also said that just like people who have roads build through their lands are compensated, it was something that Eirgrid would be assessing, but indicated that it was very much a possibility they would be.

Yesterday it was announced by Minister Pat Rabbitte that an independent commission, chaired by former Supreme Court judge Catherine McGuinness, will investigate the possibility of placing electricity power lines underground as opposed to on large pylons across parts of the countryside in the west, south and east of the country.

However, there was speculation that the North South Interconnector project would not be included in the review. This is one of the older Eirgrid plans and is set to deliver a new high capacity electricity interconnector between the electricity networks of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Meeting

Fine Gael TD Sean Conlon said he had met with the Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister Pat Rabbitte last night about the North South Interconnector project being included in the review and said he had come away from the meeting “happy” adding that he was confident that in the next 48 hours it would be announced that the reports, that have already been commissioned and carried out on the project, will be reviewed by the panel.

However, when asked about this Slye said he was not aware of the conversation between the Taoiseach and Conlon on the issue, stating that work on that project was already underway and planning permission would be applied for in the coming weeks.

When asked how long the review will take in terms of delaying Eirgrid’s plans, he denied that it would be up to a year, stating “I don’t think so.”

He said Eirgrid they were in “listening mode” and had received a huge number of submissions from around the country in relation to their projects.

Engage

The Chief Executive said they will engage with the expert panel, and look at the possibility of underground cables, but said reports had been commissioned to show that this could mean “very significant additional costs”.

Minister Rabbitte previously said that if underground cables are installed rather than overhead pylons then “electricity consumers must be prepared to take the hit on their bills over the next 50 years”.

He said that that while underground cables are “feasible” the extra cost will go “onto the bills of you and I and every other domestic customer”.

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

Read: Could controversial power lines go underground? The government wants to find out>

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