Cowen claims Government is allowing An Taisce to dictate policy

Justin Kelly

Reporter:

Justin Kelly

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news@offalyexpress.ie

Cowen claims Government is allowing An Taisce to determine policy

Barry Cowen

Fianna Fáil TD for Offaly, Barry Cowen, has said it appears that the Government is standing aside and allowing An Taisce to dictate policy and the pace of transition when it comes to the Midlands.

Deputy Cowen was commenting as An Taisce said today it will be objecting to a proposed licence determination at Lough Ree Power plant in Lanesborough, further delaying the plans to re-open the power station and leaving potentially more than 200 employees without work.

Deputy Cowen has also said the existing licence was sufficient given the current circumstances relating to air and water temperatures.

Deputy Cowen explained, “Last month operations at the Lough Ree Power Plant in Lanesborough were suspended after concerns were raised over hot water discharges into the River Shannon nearby."

“The ESB sought to apply for a new EPA licence which would solve the issue and allow the plant to re-open. However, once again we see a situation where in submitting their objections An Taisce are hindering the process and putting jobs at risk."

“I can’t understand why the existing EPA licence is not sufficient given the present air temperatures and water level. The new guidelines issued pertain to different circumstances based on higher air temperatures earlier this summer." 

“The hearings should proceed without having to impact on the reopening of the power station. It’s important to remember this is having serious and real-life consequences for potentially over 200 families across the midlands."

“Shannonbridge is another example of Government policy being disregarded and the timeframe for transition not being adhered to. Shannonbridge sought permission to co-fuel with biomass in line with Government policy. This was rejected by An Bord Planala following another submission by An Taisce."

“We have a Government policy in place to accommodate co-fuelling and a just transition. It’s time An Taisce followed this policy rather than set it and the Government being led by it. I want to hear Minister Bruton reaffirm the Government’s position and its commitment to a just transition,” he concluded.