*Moneypoint. Photograph: Fergal Clohessy
Further staff reductions are expected to come at Moneypoint in the coming weeks and months, The Clare Echo has learned.
Moneypoint is Ireland’s biggest electricity generator and currently employs 194 staff. On top of this figure, a number of contractors had been employed at the West Clare plant, however as of Friday last all of these personnel have ceased work there with an ESB spokesperson confirming, “less contractor resources are required”.
The Clare Echo understands that on Wednesday morning, long-serving and older members of staff were contacted regarding voluntary redundancies with negotiations expected to progress over the coming weeks. Such claims were directly refuted by ESB’s Head Office when contacted by The Clare Echo.
When asked if an announcement would be made in the coming days regarding possible job losses, the claims were rejected and refuted. “ESB will be making no announcement on the future of Moneypoint”. The spokesperson insisted there was “nothing at all” that would force them to make such a statement as talk of redundancies were dismissed.
In a previous statement to The Clare Echo regarding it’s future plans for Moneypoint, a spokesperson for ESB outlined, “Moneypoint is a dual fuel station and is available to burn coal and/or oil. As part of our Brighter Future strategy, ESB is committed to reducing the carbon intensity of electricity we generate by over two-thirds by 2030. This involves the planned transition out of coal and other high carbon fuels. The policy in relation to Moneypoint is to configure away from coal by 2025 and ESB is developing a number of options for the Moneypoint site as part of the transition to a secure and affordable low-carbon future. In developing these plans, ESB is keenly aware of the important challenges of keeping electricity costs down and assuring the security of supply and fuel diversity benefits currently provided by Moneypoint”.
Rita McInerney told The Clare Echo of her “increasing worry” of 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. 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”.
“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,” the Fianna Fáil General Election candidate stated.
“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”, the Doonbeg businesswoman added.