It’s claimed West Clare can become “the Silicon Valley” of offshore wind energy – but only if the government steps up efforts to protect Moneypoint’s future.
A special meeting was held in Kilrush last evening, as concern grows for the economy of the West of the county, should the plant’s operations be scaled back.
Two weeks ago, the ESB met with staff at Moneypoint Power Station, when it’s understood they were told that the workforce will be reduced to 86 by October, with 106 workers being let go.
However, the company has still not commented on job losses, outside of saying it will continue to support staff.
Meetings held with Clare’s Oireachtas members shed no further light on the issue and when it was raised in the Dáil with Environment Minister Richard Bruton, he shot down a proposal to create a taskforce to support the region.
But following last evening’s meeting in Kilrush, it was decided to progress with a taskforce regardless – and Clare’s Fianna Fáil TD Timmy Dooley says it’s crucial now that they’re supported in what they’re trying to achieve.
The taskforce will be made up of Clare’s five Oireachtas members, along with five of the West Clare Municipal District councillors.
Their main objective is to secure a meeting with the Business and Environment Ministers, the ESB, the IDA and Enterprise Ireland.
Kilrush Independent Councillor Ian Lynch is hopeful they’ll be listened to but if not, he feels they will have to plough ahead regardless.
With Moneypoint to cease coal-burning by 2025, a lot of the meeting focused on what could be done to protect its future and ensure it would be there for generations to come.
A suggestion to use the site as an offshore wind energy plant received broad support, with the west of Ireland said to be the ideal location for such a development.
Kilkee Fianna Fáil Councillor Cillian Murphy is confident in such a move.
Today, a letter in the names of the 10 taskforce members is being issued to the Ministers, the ESB and other relevant agencies, in the hope of getting commitment on a meeting to progress their goals.