Government, and in particular the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan, must immediately commit to developing a pathway toward reopening the West Offaly Power Station in Shannonbridge, as well as the Lough Ree Power Station in Lanesboro. That’s according to the Independent TD for Laois-Offaly, Carol Nolan.
Deputy Nolan was speaking ahead of a Dáil debate on the Government’s Electricity Costs (Domestic Electricity Accounts) Emergency Measures and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill 2022. The Bill, if passed will provide for a Benefit Payment in each of the periods November/December 2022, January/February 2023 and March/April 2023:
“While there is no doubt that we must take immediate action in the short-term with respect to supports for offsetting energy costs; we must also act immediately to address the sheer lunacy of having two major power plants lying idle in the middle of the worst energy crisis in a generation,” said Deputy Nolan.
“There is simply no reason, apart from reckless adherence to a bankrupt ideological position, that Shannonbridge and Lanesboro cannot be reopened using biomass as a fuel source.”
“In recent weeks we had Fine Gael Minister of State, Peter Burke, state on the record that the renewed use of Lanesboro, should be “firmly on the table” in the case of an emergency. What does he think we are in now-an energy supply surplus? Do we have to wait for the lights to go out and for businesses to shutter before this Government thinks we are at a sufficient state of emergency?”
“The foot-dragging and the reluctance to set out a pathway toward reopening is indefensible. Events are clearly going from bad to worse in terms of energy security. That in itself should be all the justification needed for a full reversal of the Government’s position on keeping Shannonbridge and Lanesboro closed.”
“Ireland should not freeze while Minister’s fiddle to the tune of a dreary net-zero ambition,” concluded Deputy Nolan.