Fianna Fáil General Election candidate for Clare Rita McInerney says the government is failing to capitalise on Moneypoint’s potential as Brexit draws ever closer.

She has criticised the lack of planning or action from Fine Gael and the ESB in the wake of the announcement that the facility is to cease its current coal burning operations by 2025.

“The UK Prime Minister’s plan to prevent the British parliament from extending the transition period beyond the end of December 2020 means that a no-deal Brexit cannot categorically be ruled out. Irrespective of whether we are dealing with a hard Brexit or not, a plan needs to be put in place for Moneypoint”, said McInerney.

“The location of the site makes it a prime investment opportunity. It’s right on the edge of Europe and could operate as the gateway between the US, South America and the EU. The potential is huge – there is over 400 acres of zoned industrial, with a 380-metre jetty, a 25 metre deep port that can take the biggest ships in the world and two 400 KV electricity transmitters connecting across the country.

“With huge delays and restrictions expected on the English land bridge, we should be looking at alternative routes into mainland Europe; Moneypoint could be used as a pivot port for goods coming into and out of the continent.

“Ireland’s reliance on imported electricity stands to be affected by tariffs from the UK and in order to avoid dependence on foreign electricity sources, we should be developing alternatives like offshore wind – Moneypoint is the ideal location at the centre of the West Coast for this to be developed.

“To date, Fine Gael has adopted a hands-off approach when it comes to the future of Moneypoint. It has failed to see the potential of this area, and is continuing its policy of ignoring rural Ireland, which while disappointing and frustrating, is not surprising”, concluded McInerney.