A Labour senator has claimed EirGrid had been misleading the public in presenting their Laois/Kilkenny Reinforcement Project.

Senator John Whelan said what was actually planned for Coolnabacky in Co Laois was "an industrial renewable energy hub".

He made the claim at an An Bord Pleanála oral hearing on EirGrid's Strategic Infrastructure Development application.

Senator Whelan said that the body was "economical with the truth" and misleading in the consultation process with locals.

EirGrid said yesterday that the project was needed to secure supply for Kilkenny and several other counties in Leinster.

Senator Whelan referred to a document signed by Project Manager Ray Niland that had been submitted to An Bord Pleanála in 2009.

"This is a document that is a smoking gun," he said. "In the very hand of the project manager to An Bord Pleanála in 2009 it was written that the substation was provided to facilitate renewables.

"This has nothing got to do with Kilkenny and doubts Kilkenny might run out of juice in 2028."  

Consultants for EirGrid later gave numerous assessments on aspects of the proposed project, including the landscape and visual impact and archaeological impact.

The consultants and their assessments will later be open for questions by observers.