Interconnector Update

7th January, 2011

Prior to Christmas, I raised the issue of the ongoing An Bord Pleanala oral hearing and the cost of such a hearing with the Minister for Transport in the Seanad. During the debate, I asked him was there any consideration given to deferring the Oral Hearing as construction of the DART Underground is unlikely to start before 2014, particularly given the cost of such a process to state agencies but also to the East Wall community who wish to be represented throughout the hearing. I highlighted the impact construction work will have on the community of East Wall despite there not being any direct benefits for the area.

In response to my questioning, no clarification was provided by the Minister in respect of a consideration of deferring the oral hearing. In fact, the Minister repeated the claim the project is still going ahead, despite no tunnelling works being due to take place before 2014. He also pointed out that An Bord Pleanala has exclusive responsibility when it comes to examining large-scale infrastructural projects like the DART Underground.

Over the Christmas break, I received some correspondence from An Bord Pleanala informing me that the venue for the hearing has moved to Croke Park from Monday January 10th. I very much welcome this decision as it will make it easier for residents in East Wall to attend the hearing and therefore ensure the concerns of the community are heard and taken into consideration by the Planning Inspector. An Bord Pleanala also informed me that it intends not only to complete the hearing but also make a final decision on the project before April 30th 2011 and that it “will take all ….steps as are open to it to ensure that the matter is determined before that date”.