There is shock and anger in Lanesboro this afternoon after the ESB confirmed the closure of the Lough Ree Power station next year.
The firm made the announcement this morning for what it claims were planning, environmental and commercial reasons.
Despite the sunshine on a crisp bright winter’s day in Lanesboro, a dark cloud hangs over the town on the banks of Lough Ree.
The power station, which has been in operation for generations, will cease producing electricity in December 2020 following an announcement by the ESB this morning.
Its sister station in Shannonbridge in Offaly will also close next year.
The ESB claims the decision is a result of a failure of the Offaly plant to secure planning in July of this year to convert from burning peat to biomass.
It was this decision, the ESB claims, forced it to review operations in Lough Ree, and has resulted in today’s announcement.
Siptu representative Willie Noone says today’s news is not a shock to workers:
Former Minister for the environment, Denis Naughten, believes the decision by the ESB goes against government policy.
TD Michael Fitzmaurice has also called on Minister Richard Bruton to intervene:
Up to 40 people work at the plant and it is unclear if all will lose their jobs, or if some will be redeployed to other ESB operations.
Vincent McGowan from the local community group, who just two months ago organised a think-tank, says the impact of its closure will be felt for miles around.