Fianna Fáil has raised serious concerns about the sale of two ESB plants in Lough Ree and West Offaly.
Environment Spokesperson Barry Cowen has called on the Government to immediately explain why it is reneging on its clear commitment that ‘no ESB power generating facility on this island would be sold.’
The Offaly TD said the sale raises questions about the Government’s commitment to strategic assets; it casts doubt over the future of these two facilities and job security; and it has potentially serious consequences for Bord Na Mona, which has supply contracts with the two facilities.
Deputy Cowen said, “As recently as May of this year, the Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin told the Dáil that ‘With regard to the ESB, there will be no sale of any power-generating capacity in the Republic or the island of Ireland.’ What has happened to that commitment?
“I am calling on the Government to answer the following questions as a matter of urgency:
– What, if any, effort was made to retain these facilities?
– What effort was made to negotiate with Europe on extending the PSO or phasing it out?
– What commitment can be given to the staff about job security?
– What impact will the sale have on the State’s strategic interests in energy supply?
– What effort has been made to examine the impact on Bord Na Mona?
“I also want to ask the Government if it has given any consideration to Bord Na Mona taking over the two plants. This could be of major strategic benefit to both Bord Na Mona and to the State in the long-run.
“These plants were built in 2005 and 2006 and it was envisaged they would have a life-span of at least 25 years. We need to ensure that they are not being sold off now for a quick fix of cash at the expense of the staff and the country’s longer term interests.”