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30,000 Irish Grid Link submissions go unanswered

Words: Sam Waddicor

Irish energy giant EirGrid responded to just 10 per cent of the public submissions it received during the consultation period for Grid Link last January, say campaigners.

The controversial plans attracted some 35,000 queries during the consultation period in January, but EirGrid only responded to about 4,000 of these.

The Grid Link project is an estimated €500m investment into a high voltage power line linking Leinster and Munster. Initially, the plan had been for overhead cables to carry the power, but this met with strong opposition from local residents. EirGrid now say that they will release plans for the cables to be laid underground, but this pledge has done little to allay public concerns.

One Waterford based campaign group, Comeraghs Against Pylons (CAP), say in their material that EirGrid has repeatedly ignored requests for community interaction. CAP was approached for its opinions on the project in March through a letter from the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIA) saying they were putting together a peer review on behalf of their client EirGrid. However, CAP said, rather than the consultation it and other groups had wanted, the proposal from the CIA felt like a "box ticking exercise", with queries about the review going unanswered.

A spokesman for EirGrid said it has “given all of the submissions very careful consideration and has worked intensively on the preparation of answers to what were detailed and very genuine submissions”.