Charles Haughey and the generators


A chara, – I have been asked by a number of people to correct the account given in the article by Ann Marie Hourihane, (“Betty Purcell: war stories form the heart of RTÉ”, April 7th) concerning Charles Haughey and the wind generators on Cape Clear Island.

I recall the relevant events very clearly indeed since they occurred shortly after my arrival as the new manager of the co-op on the island in 1987.

It seems that the former taoiseach was highly impressed by the wind/diesel/battery system on Cape Clear island which had been installed by SMA Regelsystem Gmbh and which he launched, together with the German ambassador, in that year. So impressed indeed that he announced his intention of having a similar system installed in Inishvickillane, a project that was subsequently carried out.

Most certainly no wind turbines were removed from Cape Clear island and the integrated wind/diesel/battery system continued to provide an outstanding service for more than 10 years after that. Sadly, by the time the 33w wind turbines needed replacing due to normal wear and tear, the wind turbine industry had moved on and such small turbines were no longer available.

Similar systems were installed subsequently in various parts of the world and the Cape Clear system is credited with providing the first concrete evidence for the viability of wind energy in Ireland.

In deference to the good names of all concerned, including the ESB, who were responsible for operating the island electricity grid, I can confirm that at no time was the island left with a “a generator that gave only sporadic service”.

I am grateful for the opportunity to put the record straight on this matter. Is mise le meas,


Oileán Chléire,

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