Thursday, 12 July 2018
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
599. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if all procurement related activities in relation to the North-South Interconnector, and the Supreme Court appeal will be halted pending determination of court cases (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31858/18]
612. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he will request that all procurement related activities be halted pending determination in both cases in view of the recent incinerator decision in Northern Ireland and the impending judicial review of the North-South Interconnector and the Supreme Court appeal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32248/18]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 599 and 612 together.
There are a number of legal issues ongoing in Ireland and Northern Ireland in relation to the North South Interconnector project. My Department was involved in a High Court appeal against the planning decision in 2017. The planning decision was upheld in the High Court and subsequently in the Court of Appeal. This is now being appealed to the Supreme Court.
The legal issues in Northern Ireland are ultimately a matter for the authorities there. The judgement made by the Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland on 6 July relates to a different project, although it has been acknowledged that it could have wider implications for decision making in Northern Ireland. It is to be expected that the judgement will be studied over the coming weeks by authorities on both sides of the border for any implications for the North South Interconnector project.
I respect the process of the courts system in both Ireland and Northern Ireland and it is important to let these processes reach their appropriate conclusions.
The Interconnector, as proposed as an overhead line, has full planning permission in Ireland and Northern Ireland. The construction of the project, and all related procurement activities, is an operational matter for EirGrid and ESB Networks and one in which I have no function.