YEARS of uncertainty for Moneypoint employees came to an end last week, with the direction for their plant being unveiled, and assurances that their jobs will be sustained into the future. In addition the construction of new infrastructure and support services are set to see the creation of hundreds of new jobs, providing a massive and overdue economic boost for West Clare. After coal burning ceases in 2025, the plant will continue in back-up mode, until the first phase of the new green energy development comes on stream three years later.
The lack of a plan for a future after coal burning ended was a huge concern for west Clare, while significant job losses at the plant in 2019 meant the outlook was rather bleak, but one worker said that staff have been thrilled with last week’s development.
“From the feedback I’m getting, everyone is over the moon and everyone is delighted. They’re going to use the site below to do all the construction work for it and float the stuff out from there. The space is available and that’s great,” he said. “It seals the long term future for Moneypoint. If they are talking about 500 or 600 constructions workers that’s a lot of people for West Clare and North Kerry.”
He said his only concern was that that the announcement could be seen as politically convenient, without a real drive to follow through on it. “They could be saying these things to keep the Greens happy, the government happy and the local people happy. But I’d be optimistic it will go ahead.”
At the moment there are 86 direct employees at Moneypoint, with up to 30 contractors. He feels that the future is now secured for what has been one of the most significant employers in the region for a generation, and he says with new works to happen there within weeks, West Clare will get a summertime boost this year.
“It’d have been an awful shame to see it shut down. You can’t shut down until you build, that’s how it is, because at times when the wind doesn’t blow they need Moneypoint. The contract is out now for this synchronised condensor that is going ahead during the summer and it’ll be another boost, there will be contractors in doing that, there will be civil works and APC have the contract for putting it together. There will be another boost for Kilrush and West Clare.”
He said that morale is quite high at the moment, something that hasn’t always been the case in recent years.