The State-owned company Eirgrid is to give the public more time to give their views on a plan to link Munster and Leinster via a giant pylon network.
In the face of mounting criticism over the pylons, Eirgrid confirmed that it would extend the third phase of public consultation on the €500m Grid Link Project.
Mr John Lowry, Grid Link’s manager, said the company “is listening” to the concerns of the public in relation to the upgrade.
“We are extending this third consultation period so that interested parties have plenty of time to have their say to this vital project,” he said.
Eirgrid say its project team has met “thousands of stakeholders” who have provided important feedback on the route corridor options.
It says there will be more consultation next year with planning permission sought in 2016.
Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on the Environment, Brian Stanley TD, welcomed the decision to extend its consultation.
“This is a welcome move as I raised this last week in the Dáil with Minister Rabbitte. The extension was needed as many people are only now becoming aware of the scale of the proposed project and I encourage people to make submissions before the new deadline.”
“Scenic areas such as Rossmore and Killeshin in Laois, which the local community and Laois County Council promote as a first class tourist destination, would be severely affected by the presence of these pylons and wires.”
Dep Stanley said “Undergrounding of lines is a sensible and sustainable solution”.