Saturday 25 March 2017

Power restored to Inis Oirr and Inis Meáin after weekend blackout

Inisheer (Inis Oirr), Aran Islands
Inisheer (Inis Oirr), Aran Islands

Louise Kelly & Caroline Crawford

Power has been restored to the Aran Islands with the help of a generator last night.

A fault with an undersea cable resulted in the loss of power to the islands last Friday.

ESB crews were able to restore power to the largest island of Inis Mór but some 372 customers on Inis Oirr and Inis Meáin were left without power for the entire weekend.

Island residents voiced their concern about contacting the mainland or emergency services should they need to before power is restored.

Locals on Inis Oirr say the tourist season has been badly hit after both islands were left with no electricity for four days when the cable supplying the area was damaged.

Cafes and small restaurants were forced to close while dozens of holidaying families also left the islands early as a result of the extended power cut.

“We are in the very peak of the tourist season every guesthouse on the islands should have been full over the weekend and there were people staying in holiday homes all over the island. They had to leave at the weekend. They had nothing, the food was all gone off and they had no options.

“Lots of coffee shops and little restaurants also had to close, they had no choice,” he said.

 Mr Crowe said the long power outage had also cost local families thousands of euro after full freezers of food were spoiled.

Paddy Crowe, Co-Op manager on Inis Oirr said the impact on the tourist season had been immense and called on the government to put a workable emergency plan in place for islands.

It will take several weeks for the cable to be repaired.

Bernadine Maloney, of ESB said the interim generators will run for 24 hours a day until the subsea cable is repaired.

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