The threat of closure hangs over the turf burning power station at Screebe in Connemara, County Galway.
The Electricity Supply Board (ESB) turf power station at Screebe, near Maam Cross in Connemara, County Galway was brought into operation in 1957. At the same time turf burning stations were built at Gweedore in County Donegal, Miltown Malbay in County Clare and Cahirciveen in County Kerry.
The ESB are accepting the current season's turf and will then be reviewing operations A campaign to keep the power station operating has begun.
Parish priest in Rosmuc Father Leo Morahan (An tAthair León Ó Morcháin) says the power station plays a vital social role in the region.
This was founded not just as an economic unit but it was as a social service to the people to augment whatever income the farmers around here had.
As the power station plays such a valuable social role, Father Morahan believes making a profit is a bonus rather than a prerequisite. He realises the station is not paying its way but as Monsignor James Horan says neither is the Dublin Area Rapid Transit (DART), Córas Iompair Éireann (CIÉ) or Aer Lingus.
Galway Development Officer Charles Lynch says 535 people are in direct employment at the power station with numerous shops and services dependent on its existence in the area.
The community is in a remote part of the country where other state agencies have failed to create sufficient employment, particularly in south Connemara. He believes the power station should remain operational until alternative work is found for people in the area.
The station was recently refurbished; therefore it has the equipment, workforce and turf to remain operational for 19 more years without any further expenditure.
Father Morahan calls on politicians to prove their commitment to the Irish language and culture.
If you haven’t got people in this area you’ve got a museum, nothing else.
If the government allows the closure of Screebe power station, they will be reneging on this commitment.
The power station at Screebe was decommissioned in 1989.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 25 April 1985. The reporter is Pádraig Ó Catháin.