One of the power stations to close in Ireland

Irish bishop laments “devastating blow” of job losses at Midlands power stations

The Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnois has lamented the “devastating blow” of job losses in the Midlands region of Ireland after the Electricity Supply Board (ESB) announced the closure of two peat-powered generating plants.

Driving the news

As The Irish Times reported Friday, the ESB announced the closure of the plants at Shannonbridge in County Offaly and Lanesboro in County Longford from December 2020, after failing to secure approval to convert them to biomass stations.

Although the ESB said it does not envisage compulsory redundancies for the 80 staff employed at the plants – who will either be redeployed or offered voluntary redundancies – the closures do raise doubts about the futures of up to 1,000 workers at peat supplier Bord na Móna.

Go deeper

In a statement Sunday, Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnois Francis Duffy decried the negative effect the closure of the ESB plants will have on the Midlands region and on families and the local economy.

The personal, social and financial impact of the closures on the region “cannot be underestimated”, Duffy warned.

The bishop said he has “very serious concerns about the consequences of this decision as it relates to the viability of Bord na Móna as an iconic Irish company”.

Related:  Irish cleric calls for "radical reappraisal" of priesthood to turn around "abysmal" vocations slide

“Three generations of families have been employed in these plants”, Duffy recalled.

“Today, ESB workers with young families, those managing mortgages and financial commitments, and with their plans and hopes for the future, will be impacted by this decision. Seasonal work for young people attending college and opportunities for apprenticeships now seem destined to disappear”, the bishop decried.

Why it matters

Duffy said he had asked for prayers at Masses in the region over the coming weeks for the workers who lose their jobs and for their families.

“We will continue to offer our prayerful support for those who are affected during these difficult times. I am available to support initiatives which aim to address the needs of our people in any way that I can”, the bishop pledged.

Duffy concluded his statement by calling on public and government authorities “to expedite their work towards making the Midlands region a place with greater opportunities for employment”.

“In particular, State investment must address the immediate needs of those whose jobs will end in 2020”, the bishop urged.

Related:  Black Catholic priest accuses US Bishops of complicity in white privilege

Next on Novena:

Bishop warns against Irish “dependence” on multinationals as another 320 jobs lost in Cork

Bishop decries rise of “two-tier Ireland” as 500 lose jobs in mid-west factory closure

Related

Share this: