Minister for Disability and Fianna Fáil TD for Galway East, Anne Rabbitte, has said she’s disappointed to learn of the cancellation of a proposed public engagement by the company behind the Portumna power plant.

Following a number of public meetings held in the community and public debate both locally and in the media over proposed developments at the Oldstreet Power Station in the Coolpowra area of Gortanumera, Portumna, Minister Rabbitte contacted representatives of Coolpowra Flex Gen, the company behind the project, to seek a public meeting between the company and the community.

A representative of the company informed the Minister earlier this month that there would be an event for members of the public to meet the company and discuss the project.

Minister Rabbitte was informed on Friday night that this event has now been cancelled.

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Minister Rabbitte commented:

I am very disappointed and indeed frustrated with the company’s decision to cancel this public engagement.

People have so many questions about the proposed plans for Coolpowra and what it means for the area.

This would have allowed people to get the answers we’re all looking for.

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and she continued:

A project of this type and scale needs public engagement and open discussion. There’s currently a vacuum of information beyond what is available in the actual planning applications.

The vast majority of the good people of Portumna and Killimor are not engineers, scientists or serial objectors, they are decent people who want interaction with the company.

People have serious questions about health, water and the environment but we don’t have answers.

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and she continued:

 

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I was told by a representative for the company that they would host what they described as a ‘pop-up public event’ in Portumna whereby they would be set up for a number of hours over the course of a day and people could drop in to discuss the project and air their concerns.

The company now says they’re not doing it, and it’s not clear why.

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and she concluded:

The people of this area have always done their bit in supporting energy infrastructure. It’s quite clear though there’s a level of upset and scepticism around the plans for Coolpowra and the lack of public engagement is making matters worse.

I have asked the company to reconsider their position and hopefully they will hold some form of public event as the people of East Galway deserve that, at least.

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