Plans to cut 35 jobs at power generating plant

PLANS by Endesa to reduce its workforce by 35 at its electricity generating plant, in north Kerry, were greeted by disappointment in the area yesterday.

The Spanish energy giant, which took over the ESB station at Tarbert Island almost two years ago, is entering negotiations with trades unions to cut the workforce from 90 to 55.

It is also understood the company is looking for job reductions at its generating plant in Great Island, in Wexford.

North Kerry is one of the country’s unemployment blackspots and politicians in the area have attacked the Government for not doing enough to attract investment to the area.

Fine Gael’s Jimmy Deenihan said north Kerry should have been included in the remit of the task force to deal with the jobs crisis in the mid-west, following huge job losses at Dell in Limerick.

He said unemployment in the area stretching from Tralee to Tarbert had doubled in the past two years.

“There seems to be no focus on the area. No one is bothering to do something about it,” he said.

Sinn Féin’s Martin Ferris claimed the area had been neglected for the past 25 years.

John Fox, of Tarbert Development Association, said 240 people had been employed at Tarbert Island, five or six years ago, but the workforce had been gradually reduced over the years.

“Any further reductions would have a serious effect in terms of wages and services over a wide area,” he said.

Endesa plans to replace the oil-powered plants in Tarbert, Co Kerry, and Great Island in Wexford with facilities that will run on natural gas.

The Tarbert upgrade, which is expected to reduce C02 emissions from the plant by 50%, is due to be in operation by 2012, with phase two to begin four years later.

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