Fianna Fáil General Election candidate for Clare Rita McInerney has called on the government and the ESB to establish a development plan for Moneypoint to ensure that employment at the plant can be maintained and Ireland’s energy options can be safeguarded.

“I am increasingly worried about the situation at Moneypoint. I understand that at a recent meeting staff were told that the ESB are trying to keep the plant open until 2025 but failed to give any concrete guarantees on that. In addition, it announced that it will now only be running winter operations”, said McInerney.

“This is a very worrying development for people living in Kilrush and the wider west Clare area. The loss of the traditional overhauls in the summer time, will have a huge impact on local seasonal workers. College students, in particular, who would come home for the summer to work, will be less likely to do so now as the work will be limited to just a few short weeks.

“Moneypoint has been a major employer in West Clare providing high value, skilled jobs. It is a vital driver of the economy and there are very real fears that direct and indirect jobs will be lost unless an alternative use for the facility is found.

“Moneypoint is the only independent state-owned source of energy that Ireland has outside of wind energy. It is imperative that a development plan for the facility is found, which will not only secure employment for workers, but will also provide a secure energy source for the country.

“We need to examine all of the options available to protect jobs and develop a new purpose for Moneypoint. Areas such as renewable energy production need to be seriously considered, particularly given its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. While I understand that the ESB and government have been engaging on this issue we need to see a concrete plan for the future of the plant put in place so that it can continue operations”, concluded McInerney.