APPARENT RIFT BETWEEN MONAGHAN F.G. T.D.S CRITICISED AT CO COUNCIL MEETING

14 May 2015 No Comments by The Northern Standard

PETER HUGHES

Apparent tension in the relationship between Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys TD and her Cavan/Monaghan Fine Gael party colleague in the Dáil Sean Conlan came in for critical comment at Monday’s meeting of Monaghan Co Council.

In correspondence to the Council on the north-south electricity interconnector issue, Deputy Conlan stated that he had written and called on Minister Humphreys “on numerous occasions” to use her Cabinet position to stop EirGrid from submitting a renewed planning application in relation to the project, but the Minister had not replied to him and had failed to attend Oireachtas Committee and FG Parliamentary Party meetings relevant to the issue.

Fianna Fáil’s P J O’Hanlon interpreted the letter as indicating that communications had broken down between the two Monaghan FG Deputies, which he branded “a sad day for democracy”, and a shame and a disgrace. “I have never seen anything like it in my life,” the South Monaghan councillor remarked.

“Schoolboy carry-on” was Robbie Gallagher of FF’s description of the situation, which was also branded “farcical” by the senior FG member on the Council, Hugh McElvaney.

Cathaoirleach Pádraig McNally feared the strained relationship between Deputy Conlan and Minister Humphreys could inflict damage on the anti-pylon campaign in the county, and was critical of Deputy Conlan for his correspondence, urging him to sort his issues out with Cabinet and refrain from “personalising” them.

With the date for EirGrid’s renewed planning application to An Bord Pleanala for their north-south development looming in the second week of June, the Council passed motions calling on the Government to prevent the energy body from proceeding with their plans, and to direct them to underground the project.

DEPUTY CONLAN LETTER

In his correspondence, dated May 5, Deputy Conlon stated:

“Last week I put a motion before the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party to direct the Government to direct EirGrid not to make an application to ABP [An Bord Pleanála] until they provide a fully costed underground route option for public consultation and to direct EirGrid to underground the project.

“On foot of my …

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