Clare Fianna Fáil TD Timmy Dooley has expressed concerns about possible job losses at the Ardnacrusha and Moneypoint power plants in Co. Clare as a result of the Government’s plans to sell off a large stake of the ESB.
Deputy Dooley commented, “Fianna Fáil has very real concerns about the Government’s strategy on ESB privatisation. Based on experience and on detailed analysis of what is at stake in the case, we believe that giving up State control of the ESB could cause chaos in energy provision in this country and would inevitably result in large scale job losses at the firm.
“Two of the ESB’s largest plants, Ardnacrusha and Moneypoint, are located in Co Clare and the company has traditionally been one of the largest employers in this region. The plant at Ardnacrusha has been operational since 1929 while Moneypoint opened in 1987. Unfortunately, there is no getting away from the fact that job cuts are a consequence of selling State assets to private interests and this would inevitably impact on the staff at our two local ESB plants.
“I am deeply disappointed by the fact that the Fine Gael and Labour TDs in the Clare constituency voted in favour of a Dáil motion last week supporting privatisation. The Government parties have 5 Oireachtas members in Co Clare, but judging by the position they are now taking, they are fully supportive of the Government’s plans to privatise the ESB. They appear to have little regard for the ESB workers at our local plants.
“Fianna Fáil in Government decided against the privatisation of the ESB for a number of reasons. We decided not to sell either the high voltage lines, which are the transmission lines, or low voltage lines, which are the network lines connecting all houses. This is because they are a fundamental strategic national asset. If the Government sells a minority stake of anything up to 49%, the board of the ESB immediately changes and for the first time ever there will be people in that boardroom whose only interest is financial gain. The long-term strategic interest of the State will be secondary to them, as their main focus will be securing a return for the shareholders.
“My primary concern at this stage is to ensure that there will not be large scale job losses at the ESB plants in Ardnachrusha, Moneypoint and across the country as a result of the Government’s sell-off plans. The Government has created a lot of confusion about how great a stake it intends to sell and what exactly the terms will be. This has caused a great deal of distress among workers. It is high time for the Minister for Energy Pat Rabbitte to bring some clarity to this situation so that the ESB staff in Clare and nationwide have some idea about what is coming down the line.”