Blog Archive

Silvermines Hydro Electric Plant Announcement

Posted on July 03, 2017 by Alan Kelly

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 'Early last Weds morning (June 28th) in Beijing, a Memorandum of Understanding between Bord Na Mona and PowerChina was signed to go to the next phase in the development of the Hydro Electric Plant in the Silvermines. This is a very important step and a critical announcement and something I have worked on for a year and half.

As you will be aware in January 2016 working with Darren Quinn CEO of Siga Hydro we announced plans to develop a Hydro electric plant in the old mining area in the Silvermines. It was estimated that the project would cost €650m and would be worth €2.5bn when built. The plant would use 'pump storage' technologies to produce 360 MW of electricity which would power approximately 200,000 houses. The project would create approximately 400 jobs during construction and well over 50 during operation. However, there would be a much greater economic impact on the area from the huge spend that will result and there will be other ancillary benefits.

The project is very similar to the plant in Turlough Hill, Co. Wicklow. Effectively, the plant would have two reservoirs linked together by a huge steel pipe. When there is excess wind energy created across the country, particularly at night, this will be used to pump the water from the lower reservoir to the higher reservoir. Then at times of peak demand (in the morning when we get up and in the evening times) the water is released and flows into the lower reservoir and turns turbines in it thereby creating energy which is used. The plant will be serviced by the 400 and 200 kv lines that are approximately 4km away.

Significantly from a local perspective, the project will not alone be a zero emission hydro electric power station but will also greatly advance the environmental rehabilitation of the area, with water in the existing reservoir set to be decontaminated, ending the seepage of harmful minerals into local water tables. It will also help with an overall plan to finally deal with all the environmental issues that exist from centuries of mining in the area.

When I was a Minister in the last Government, we launched a White Paper on Energy Policy that stressed the need for such a facility in Ireland. This was crucially important to progress this project. Furthermore, Tipperary County Council supported the development of such infrastructure through their plans and policies too.

After the announcement of the plans for this project, we engaged in a series of consultations with he local community in the Silvermines, culminating with a public meeting in Hickeys in the Silvermines.

After that there were a huge volume of meetings and discussions with various companies and organisations on the project. There were many meetings and conversations with the Minister for Energy and his Department.

This all resulted in a visit from representatives of the PowerChina company (http://en.powerchina.cn/about.html) in March of this year. They were here for approximately 10 days and I met them on a number of occasions. They spent some time surveying the Silvermines site and I accompanied them as the local TD. I also had a number of meetings with the Chinese Ambassador to Ireland and he was very supportive.

As a result of this, last Wednesday morning a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Bord Na Mona (in conjunction with Siga Hydro) and Power China to go to the next stage of the project. It is very important that Bord Na Mona were involved as the have experience with developing and planning large scale projects in Ireland.

This is a critical milestone for this great project and I'm absolutely thrilled with this. It's taken many, many hours, days and even weeks of work to get to this stage and I look forward to working with all the partners into the future as they bring this project further towards a planning application.

I will keep everyone updated as required. I want to thank the community in the Silvermines in particular for their support to date and also, Tipperary County Council, my colleague Cllr Fiona Bonfield and many friends and staff'.

Photo of the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding today by Mike Quinn CEO Bord Na Mona and Mr. Du Chunguo President PowerChina.

 

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Dail Constituency Boundary Changes

Posted on July 03, 2017 by Alan Kelly

I very much welcome the decision by the constituency commission to bring Lower Ormond and its environs back into the Tipperary constituency.

This is something I campaigned for and submitted a petition to the Commission on. I was alone amongst Tipperary TDs in doing so. It was something I researched for some time and put forward both legal and moral arguments as to why the area should be put back into Tipperary.

I asked the people of Lower Ormond to support me on this and almost 1500 did so by way of a petition I organised. I want to thank them all for their support and in particular the many local businesses who organised the petition for me.

It was always totally wrong that over 10,000 people were moved into Offaly. They were furious at such a move and it didn't make sense particularly as the county council and VEC mergers created an alignment of services in Tipperary and this went totally against this.

On the other hand I am deeply upset and annoyed that the Commission has decided to move Newport, Birdhill and some related areas into Offaly. This is a disgraceful move.

The very correct reasons given for moving Lower Ormond back into Tipperary are contradicted by their decision to move the Newport and Birdhill  areas into Limerick.

These areas part of Tipperary. They are not part of Limerick. I've represented the people of this area for a decade and they've been good to me. I've been fielding calls all week at how furious they are with this move. It doesn't make sense to them and it doesn't make sense to me. Myself and my colleague Cllr Fiona Bonfield will be fighting to get this area back into Tipperary at the earliest opportunity.

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Appointment of Thurles Civil Registration Service Officer

Posted on June 13, 2017 by Alan Kelly

I welcome the appointment of the Thurles Civil Registration Service Officer. 

The position of Registrar in Thurles has been vacant since early last year following a retirement forcing locals to travel to other offices in the county to avail of the services. 

The new Civil Registration Service Officer started in the role yesterday, and will work on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursday.  This is good news for Thurles.   I had been in contact with the HSE in relation to this issue  following representations from a number of constituents in the Thurles area.

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Where are the IDA jobs for Tipp?

Posted on June 12, 2017 by Alan Kelly

While I very much welcome the announcement of another 400 jobs in Northern Trust for Limerick and the Mid West, I have to ask what is happening now for County Tipperary.

I hope some jobseekers from Tipperary will indeed get jobs as part of this announcement but the simple fact is that there has been little or no job announcements from the IDA for Tipperary during the term of this Government. So I have to ask is County Tipperary really a priority for this Fine Gael led Government supported by Fianna Fáil and Michael Lowry and when it suits him Mattie McGrath?

We have heard so much from this Government about their concentration on rural Ireland but I don't see any evidence of it. We have had much fanfare around the launch of the Action Plan For Rural Development but I don't see anything new happening. Besides much of the plan is work already underway so there is little if anything new in it.

Tipperary is suffering because of the policies or lack of them of this Government and their supporters in Fianna Fáil and Michael Lowry. We haven't a focus on Tipperary anymore under this charade of a Government. It's as simple as that. His is despite the best efforts of various organisations like Tipperary County Council, Invest Tipp, Jobs For Tipp, Tipperary Chamber and others.

When I was a member of Cabinet, I was able to ensure Tipperary was represented at the highest level. I also made sure the IDA delivered for County Tipperary with Amneal and First Data being prime examples of this. Even in opposition, as Jobs Spokesperson, I've delivered a platform for the IDA in the coming years to finally deliver much needed jobs in the new Sky Innovation Park site in Tipperary Town.

However, it seems definitive now that County Tipperary is no longer a priority for this current Government or their supporters in Tipperary.

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New Emergency Department in University Hospital Limerick

Posted on May 29, 2017 by Alan Kelly

I am delighted that the new Emergency Department in University Hospital Limerick has opened ahead of schedule.  I fully supported CEO Collette Cowan when she made the decision to open the department today, despite there been problems with funding the department for part of 2017.  It is hugely important that the new emergency department opened as soon as possible as the previous situation was unsustainable for both patients, their families and staff.

The new Emergency Department is three-and-a-half times the size of the current one, and is state-of-the-art when it comes to design and use of technology and meets patient safety and privacy requirements, including a designated waiting are for pediatric patients.  The total cost of the project is €24 million.

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Visitor Signs in Rearcross

Posted on May 09, 2017 by Alan Kelly

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Pictured following the installation of new Visitor Signs in Rearcross following the completion of work there are Alan Kelly TD & Cllr Fiona Bonfield and with members of Rearcross Tidy Towns. Deputy Kelly when Minister announced large scale funding for Rearcross.

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Funding of €4 million for Tipperary Projects

Posted on May 02, 2017 by Alan Kelly

I welcome an allocation of funding from the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Mr Denis Naughten, of €4 million for community energy projects in Tipperary.
This year's funding will provide for energy efficiency upgrades to more than 2,013 homes across the country, of which 1,510 are energy poor, and a further 479 community, public and commercial facilities.
The Better Energy Communities Schemes is intended to assist private and public buildings achieve energy efficiency upgrading. The projects in Tipperary will see the installation and/or upgrading of energy efficient heating systems; energy efficient lighting, and solar heating.

Read the full entry »

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Labour Party Conference in Wexford

Posted on April 24, 2017 by Alan Kelly

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Group photo at the Labour Party Conference in Wexford at the weekend: Back; Pat Gill, Nan and Tom Kelly, Gus Ryan, Joe O'Donnell (Long Service Award Recipient), Tom Slattery, (Long Service Award Recipient), Kathleen Slattery, Olive Maguire and Sarah Dunne

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Launch of Darkness into Light

Posted on April 09, 2017 by Alan Kelly

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Helping to launch Darkness Into Light Ballina/Killaloe last weekend with Event Organiser Mairead Kennedy.

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National Meeting of Irish Greyhound Owners & Breeders Fédération

Posted on April 04, 2017 by Alan Kelly

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Pictured with Roscrea native and President of the Irish Greyhound Owners & Breeders Fédération John Moloney at their national meeting which was held in the Horse & Jockey where they voted to remove the Board of the Irish Greyhound Board

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