“According to the European Commission, they are supporting public consultation, public participation and public acceptability as part of any solution put forward or decisions taken in regard to the North-South Interconnector.”
This was stated by Marian following a meeting of all relevant stakeholders in the European Parliament organised by Matt Carthy Sinn Féin on the issue of the North-South Interconnector.
She said: “I was very heartened by the response of the European Commission where they said that the most important issue is to achieve consensus and that the project is not happening in cyberspace, it is happening with touchable, tangible infrastructures.”
“In my view this infrastructure, the North-South interconnector must be undergrounded, this will guarantee public acceptance, speedy construction and guarantee a reliable supply of electricity.
“For me the core of this issue is public acceptance. Have we not learned any lessons, the days are gone when any enterprise can take decisions without reference to the views of the public, of landowners, indeed, of all affected. Ninety five per cent of landowners have said that the interconnector will not be built on their land.
“Unfortunately the North-South interconnector has confirmed the fact, established on mainland Europe, that a major portion of the cost of such projects arises from delays caused by failure to properly consult and liaise with the communities likely to be affected. We are heading for huge delays, court battles, appeals and other costs which will far outweigh the extra cost of undergrounding. Undergrounding is technically feasible with examples from other European countries where unlike Ireland, public acceptability of projects is seen as a top priority” Marian concluded.