ESB sell-off fuels politicial doubts over job loss fears

Lanesboro Power Station. Photo:Joe McDonagh.
Plans by the ESB to sell two turf-burning power stations in the midlands has attracted mixed political reaction locally, writes Liam Cosgrove.

Plans by the ESB to sell two turf-burning power stations in the midlands has attracted mixed political reaction locally, writes Liam Cosgrove.

The State-owned energy provider last week announced details of its intention to offload Lough Ree Power in Lanesboro and West Offaly Power in Shannonbridge, Co Offaly.

Company bosses hope to raise €400m, sparking potential job loss fears among local politicians.

Fine Gael TD James Bannon said it was essential any new owners ensure all members of both stations exsiting staff are kept on.

“While I understand that the ESB is selling Lough Ree peat station, a non-strategic asset, in order to meet the objective of delivering a special dividend of €400 million, it is imperative that any sale of the peat station must include the provision that the existing staff will remain employed by the new owners,” he said.

In the days since, the ESB vowed to follow through on those calls.

Other local representatives, led by the likes of Cllr Mark Casey have yet to be fully convinced however.

“The new plant Lough Ree Power was built in 2005/06 with a lifespan of at least 25 years and we must ensure that this sale is not a quick fix by the company at the expense of the staff,” he said.