ESB's farewell to Tarbert


THE end of a era in North Kerry was marked with a function in Fels Point Hotel, Tralee, on Friday where ESB management hosted a farewell dinner to celebrate the relationship between the company and the local community in Tarbert, with whom they were linked over the last four decades.

The function was attended by over 150 guests, including ESB CEO Pádraig McManus, employees, former employees and locals. With Spanish company Endesa now operating the Tarbert Island power plant, it is hoped the relationship between the locals and the new owners will continue as it did under the ESB.

"The ESB were

wonderful employers and the local community had a great relationship with them," Tarbert Development Chairperson Joan Murphy, said.

On the night Ms Murphy accepted a cheque for €50,000 from the ESB by way of a parting gift to the community. The company also presented money to the Tarbert Community Hall rebuilding project. "These gestures were hugely generous and the TDA will use the money for the next project we deem of merit," Ms Murphy said. "We look forward to forging a new relationship now with Endesa into the future."

Tarbert Island manager Gerry Crean, who remains on under the new employers, said the company had a great night to mark their leave-taking of North Kerry.

"The ESB had a presence here for 45 years, since first establishing an operation in 1964. After the building of the two large units in 1977, Tarbert Island was the biggest power plant in Ireland and employed over 290 people at its height in the 1980s.

"This was a very significant operation and the company, while sad at leaving Tarbert, was delighted to mark the relationship in this way," he said.

New owners Endesa are committed to investing in the site. They expect to lodge a planning application for a gas-powered unit by the end of the year and, if all goes according to plan, that would become operational in 2012 securing the future of power generation here for several more decades.