Activists to continue protest at ESB power plant

Wed, Aug 19, 2009, 01:00

MORE THAN 100 “eco activists” gathered at the West Offaly Power station in Shannonbridge say they will remain there until Sunday, as part of a campaign to force the closure of the plant.

Gardaí called on Monday to the site where members of Climate Camp Ireland staged a peaceful protest to highlight their objection to peat burning at the ESB-operated power station. A number of the protesters blocked the main entrance to the plant before being moved on, a Garda spokesman said.

Local Fine Gael councillor Connie Hanniffy expressed concern over the situation and claimed some of the protesters were discussing blocking drains to keep water in the bogs.

The plant is currently closed for five weeks while annual maintenance is carried out. The work is being done by contractors and delays could affect the cutting of bog in the locality.

Peat production has declined in the region due to poor weather conditions over the last three years and workers are concerned the further delays could add to this year’s poor yield.

The situation is worrying for the people of Shannonbridge, said Cllr Hanniffy: “I don’t welcome them hindering what is bread and butter for the people here.”

She said the ESB and Bord na Móna had contributed greatly to the area. “We would be a very poor region if it weren’t for Bord na Móna and the ESB.”

The activists are holding workshops on sustainable living and other activities at the temporary campsite. The group has planned a carnival and day of action for next Saturday.