WTF EirGrid?


deafdumbblind monkeys

Why The Flip, EirGrid?

After repeatedly promising to specifically respond to individual concerns raised in the 35000(+) submissions regarding the GridLink Project, EirGrid have, after months and months of waiting, issued a one-size-fits-all response. The only piece of original writing is the addressee’s inserted name.

The beginning of this template-response recognises this contradiction:

“Every submission was examined and treated separately to ensure that all of the feedback provided by members of the public was properly understood and evaluated.

I am attaching a short document which sets out EirGrid’s response to the key themes that emerged during the public consultation.”

The Collins dictionary definition of “self-contradictory” is as follows:

If you say or write something that is self-contradictory, you make two statements which cannot both be true.”

Yup, that’s about the size of it.

About Neil van Dokkum

Neil van Dokkum (B. SocSc; LLB; LLM; PGC Con.Lit) Neil is a law lecturer and has been so since arriving in Ireland from South Africa in 2002. Prior to that Neil worked in a leading firm of solicitors from 1987-1992, before being admitted as an Advocate of the Supreme Court of South Africa (a barrister) in 1992. He published three books in South Africa on employment law and unfair dismissal, as well as being published in numerous national and international peer-reviewed journals. Neil currently specialises in employment law, medical negligence law, family law and child protection law. He dabbles in EU law (procurement and energy). Neil retired from full-time practice in 2002 to take up a lecturing post. He has published three books since then, “Nursing Law for Irish Students (2005); “Evidence” (2007); and “Nursing Law for Students in Ireland” (2011). His current interest is the area of disability as a politico-economic construct. Neil is very happily married to Fiona, and they have two sons, Rory and Ian.
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4 Responses to WTF EirGrid?

  1. Pat Swords says:

    From a legal perspective one would do well to read the Maastricht Recommendations on Public Participation in Decision-Making adopted by the UNECE Aarhus Convention Meeting of the Parties in Maastricht this July. In particular the section on” “Taking due account of the outcome of public participation — scope of obligation”. All logical stuff in Points 124 to 134.

    Click to access

    So what can one say about Eirgrid – they didn’t even make the slightest effort to comply with the principles of public participation. Certainly this should be brought to fore in the inevitable legal action which will have to take place against Eirgrid in the future.

  2. Neil van Dokkum says:

    Inevitable indeed. I think we need to start stocking the war chests now – it’s going to be a long and bloody battle.

  3. Hugo Grotius says:

    Hi Neil, I saw your WTF EirGrid? I’m sure it summed up a lot of peoples views on the matter. Have you read their website, the bit about the submission process?

    Their list of ‘qualified and experienced’ people on their project team appears to be missing a rather important element (well quite probably more than one). As I have a medical background, I am concerned about the lack of any qualified medical practitioner, considering most people are concerned about the health effects. So exactly which of their ‘experts’ do they pass Health and EMF submissions to? I have highlighted just a few bits that caught my eye.

    “We thought it might be useful to outline, step-by-step, the process that is applied to every submission we receive.

    All submissions are examined by the project team. This consists of qualified and experienced project managers, engineers, landscape experts, planners, line routing specialists, ecologists, agronomists, archaeologists, hydrogeologists and consultation specialists.

    Step one: We receive feedback to the consultation process in a number of different formats, including by email or post, and from people who spoke to our project team at an open day or in one of our information centres.

    Step two: Every piece of correspondence is recorded to ensure there is a transparent and accountable record of the consultation process.

    Step three: The submission is read by a member of the project team. At this stage their job is to identify what specific feedback the correspondent is raising. Are there concerns about the routing of a specific corridor and its impact? Is it about health and EMF? Are there issues around agriculture or tourism? Are there local constraints that the project team may not be aware of?

    Step four: The relevant specialist reviews any new information in the submission relevant to his or her area of expertise. It is possible for a submission to be sent to a number of different specialists if it raises multiple issues.

    So, for example, our ecologists might be examining the new information in a submission and incorporating it into their assessment of which corridor was the least constrained from an environmental point of view.

    Our planning team might be checking to see if there are features which have not been identified previously that could be affected by the routing of an overhead line.

    Other submissions may be examined by our line routing specialists to see if the information provided means that an overhead line cannot go through that area.

    Step five: Eventually, the analysis of all of the specialists in their various disciplines is brought together and the corridor options are evaluated under eleven different criteria including population and settlement, cost, landscape and visual impact, land use, hydrology and so on. This is used to identify the least constrained corridor.

    Proposals with respect to criteria are set out in Chapter 10 of the Lead Consultant’s Stage 1 Report, which gives more details on the corridor evaluation process.

    Step six: Once the thorough and detailed examination of all the submissions has been completed, a consultation report will be published on the project website. Everyone who sends in a submission to the project will receive a response. If the submission raises questions about specific issues, then the sender will get a response that provides answers to those queries.

    • Neil van Dokkum says:

      Thanks Hugo. It is a very poor show when EirGrid do not even bother to follow their own proclaimed policy, especially as that policy does not exceed the bare minimum on a good day, and is evidence that there never was an intention to consult. It is all window dressing and it becomes clearer by the day that the plan was drawn up a number of years ago, and nothing will stop them carrying out that plan. even whilst the so-called expert panel deliberates, EirGrid have ploughed on with their work. It is all a very sick joke.

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