The Environment Minister is being warned he must not turn his back on West Clare.
Richard Bruton has ruled out the establishment of a taskforce to support staff at the Moneypoint power station whose jobs are on the line, as well as the local community there who rely on its income.
Around 100 jobs there are expected to go by October.
In a statement this lunchtime (details below), the ESB has re-affirmed its commitment to Moneypoint, and says it’s considering a number of options as to its future.
Since its construction over 30 years ago, Moneypoint Power Station has been a staple in the West Clare economy, providing jobs for thousands of people down through the years.
But as it’s forced to move away from the burning of coal, operations have been scaled back and this week staff were informed over 100 positions are to be cut there, although the ESB is declining to comment on the extent of job losses.
Yesterday, the company met with Clare’s Oireachtas members and in the aftermath of their briefing, both Deputy Michael Harty, and Senator Martin Conway say Moneypoint faces an uncertain future.
The issue has also been raised in the Dáil, with Fianna Fáil’s Timmy Dooley asking one simple question of the Environment Minister.
But Minister Richard Bruton has all but ruled that out.
Meanwhile, Clarecastle Fine Gael Deputy Joe Carey has called on the Minister and his department not to turn their backs on this county.
Speaking in the Dáil, Deputy Carey pressed the importance of Moneypoint to this county’s economy to the Minister.
And Clare’s Junior Minister Pat Breen, who is this week attending a UN Climate Change conference in New York, says regardless of any transition to renewable energy at Moneypoint, the ESB must continue to engage with staff on their future prospects.
In a fresh statement this lunchtime, the ESB says it re-affirmed its commitment to Moneypoint during yesterday’s meetings with Oireachtas members.
The company says it outlined the changes to electricity generation, and the need to re-align Moneypoints operations as a result.
The statement re-affirms plans to cease the burning of coal at Moneypoint “no later than 2025” and says its options for after that date include both on-shore and off-shore wind generation, biomass generation, gas generation, LNG and battery energy storage.
The process to select this continues, and the company has given no indication on when a decision will be made.