Concern over potential power disruption amid ESB row

Interruption of electricity supplies would be ‘unthinkable’, Tánaiste’s spokesman says

‘I think it it would be unthinkable that there could be an interruption to power supplies at this time of year, or any other time of year,’ said the spokesman for Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

‘I think it it would be unthinkable that there could be an interruption to power supplies at this time of year, or any other time of year,’ said the spokesman for Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Tue, Nov 19, 2013, 22:02

The Government has expressed concern about potential disruption to power supplies after the ESB group of unions voted for industrial action in a row over the €1.7 billion pension deficit at the State electricity company.

“I think it it would be unthinkable that there could be an interruption to power supplies at this time of year, or any other time of year,” said the spokesman for Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore. Such sentiments also reflect the view of Taoiseach Enda Kenny, the Taoiseach’s spokesman said.

The Cabinet was briefed on the matter today at its weekly meeting. Secretary general of the ESB group of unions Brendan Ogle said on RTÉ radio today that there was a possibility of disruption to electricity services this winter after the vote.

While the vote allows action up to an including a strike, Mr Ogle said he could not state how damaging any action would be or its likely duration.

Further talks are likely between ESB management and the unions are likely in the wake of the vote for industrial action, which was carried by an 87.5 per cent majority. The company denies the unions’ claim that workers would be left with 4 per cent of their benefit if the pension scheme is wound up.