Eirgrid has said it very much welcomes the decision by the Department of Infrastructure in Northern Ireland to grant planning approval for the northern element of the North-South electricity interconnector.

The approval comes 12 months after An Bord Pleanála granted planning permission for the southern element of the scheme.

A spokesperson for Eirgrid said that it could take three years for the interconnector to be completed once construction starts on both sides of the border.

The interconnector is planned to run through counties Tyrone, Armagh, Cavan, and, Monaghan and Meath.

The decision by An Bord Pleanála to approve the construction in December 2016 provoked much opposition from local communities and politicians along the route of the interconnector.

However, the decision to grant approval was upheld in the High Court following a number of legal challenges with the final judicial review concluding earlier this month.

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment Denis Naughten last year ordered two reviews of the project.

One was to examine the feasibility of putting the electricity interconnector underground, while the second review was to examine the impact of the project on property and landowners along the route.

The outcome of both of those reviews is expected in the coming weeks and both grid operators are ready to kick-start the construction phase of the project as soon as those outcomes become known.