The President of ICMSA, John Comer, has welcomed the announcement that an independent commission is to be established that will investigate the underground options for the Gridlink and Gridwest projects. Mr Comer said that the government’s decision was no more than a recognition of the spectrum and depth of the opposition to the pylon proposals and he said that he had his association had always maintained that the onus was on the Government to ensure that all facts of the matter were placed in the public domain so that individuals and communities could make an informed choice. He confirmed that ICMSA will make a submission based on health concerns and, amongst other things, the need to protect the branding and marketing of our agri-exports at a time when they had reached €10 billion per annum and were entering and securing new markets on an almost weekly basis.
“ICMSA is not nor – and never has been – in the business of objecting to what are self-evidently progressive and logical infrastructure plans. Our objections to the pylons were based on three considerations that we felt had not been met: Firstly, we were not satisfied that the valid health concerns of those living along the proposed routes had been met, secondly, we were not at all disposed to just accept Eirgrid’s airy assurances that they had looked at the figures and the costs of undergrounding were prohibitive, and thirdly, we are firmly convinced that any savings made by use of pylons might be more than outweighed by other related costs, such as legal challenges and possible impact on the ‘green and clean’ image we have spent decades building up. ICMSA would certainly argue that any potential impact on our food branding must be ‘factored-in’ to any calculation on the respective costs of the options to expand the transmission network: It cannot be just a simple pylons-versus-underground sum with no other inputs or considerations permitted”, said Mr Comer.
Ends 28 January 2014.
John Comer, 087-2057846
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758
ICMSA Press Office