The promise of a fresh stimulus package for the Ballylongford Landbank region has been met with derision by locals, days after what they characterised as the 'betrayal' of the Programme for Government agreement.
In abandoning vital State support for the Shannon LNG plant, the Programme for Government has effectively dashed the only stimulus plan of any worth for the Landbank industrial zone, locals say.
Meanwhile, suggestions in recent days from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister Brendan Griffin that the plant could still be built, minus Government support, amount to further insult. "They must think we are fools," John Fox of the Tarbert Development Association told The Kerryman.
He said that the local electorate will remember the 'betrayal' in political 'payback' at the next general election.
It's widely believed the plant is now dead in the water and that a fresh planning application expected in the autumn would struggle to surmount the objectives of the State's new energy strategy under the programme.
Green Party TD Brian Leddin, one of the key negotiators of the programme, knocked suggestions LNG might yet proceed on the head. "The legal and political hurdles created by the programme for Government basically mean the project won't go ahead," he told The Kerryman.
But he said the programme provides a 'strong commitment' to the development of the region and that carbon targets will demand the State pursues expansive offshore renewable projects in the area.
Fine Gael Councillor Mike Kennelly, who has voted 'no' to the deal, pleaded with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on Saturday to revisit the text of the agreement, to no avail. He said the Taoiseach vowed that a stimulus package would be in place for the Landbank region within three months of the formation of the Government, however.
Listowel Municipal District Chairperson and FF Cllr Jimmy Moloney - also voting 'no' - described the provisions on alternative development as far too aspirational: "We had a concrete proposal here with a foreign investor coming in."