Council takes fight against Kilroot closure to Westminster

Almost 250 jobs are under threat at Kilroot power station
Almost 250 jobs are under threat at Kilroot power station

A Mid and East Antrim Borough Council delegation will travel to Westminster next week to give evidence to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee on the regional implications of Kilroot Power Station’s closure.

The Mayor, Cllr Paul Reid, chief executive Anne Donaghy and Louise Kennedy, head of Policy, Research and External Affairs, along with Sammy Wilson MP, have been invited to give evidence to the committee following January’s announcement by the plant’s operator, AES.

The committee is currently investigating the impact of the plant’s closure and an expected reduction in capacity at Ballylumford on the province’s power supply.

Council’s representatives will also highlight major concerns around the loss of jobs and substantial shortfall in rates income locally should Kilroot shut its gates permanently later this year.

Mr Reid said: “News of the impending closure of Kilroot Power Station and reduction in output at Ballylumford have wide-reaching implications for the whole of Northern Ireland.

“The prospect of Kilroot Power Station’s winding down and reduction at the Ballylumford site is a bitter blow for the many workers and families affected, as well as all of the citizens of Mid and East Antrim and Northern Ireland.

“I share the concerns of our local senior political representatives regarding the security of the supply of electricity across Northern Ireland in the wake of the announcement and we will relay those fears at Westminster.

“The future of Kilroot and Ballylumford was at the top of the agenda during meetings we had with key Westminster contacts in London in recent months, including local MPs Ian Paisley and Sammy Wilson, and we are committed to exploring any and all opportunities if there is even the slightest chance of an eleventh-hour reprieve.”

The mayor said council has provided the committee with written evidence on a series of matters including queries around the Integrated Single Energy Market, broader implications of the closure of Kilroot and any obstacles to the construction of the North-South generator.

Ms Donaghy said: “We welcome this opportunity to ensure Mid and East Antrim’s voice is heard at the heart of Government. I wish to reassure the community that the council will be working with a number of parties to assess and respond to the impact of the loss of the vital contract by AES.”

The delegation will give evidence to the committee on Wednesday, March 14.