MR Éamon Ó Cuív TD, Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs officially launched the upgrade of electricity to three-phase on Inisturk Island, off the coast of Mayo on Friday, March 28th. The 33 households on Inisturk, located nine miles off the coast of Mayo, with a population of 85, can for the first time install electric showers, storage heating and electric cookers. The _200,000 project was jointly funded by ESB and the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.
Launching this new facility, Mr Éamon Ó Cuív TD, Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs said that he was proud to be part of the ongoing islands electrification programme in conjunction with the ESB. “I have no doubt that the provision of 3-phase electricity to Inisturk will change the lives of the people who live there for the better”, he said. “With electricity comes light, with light comes hope, and with hope comes new life. I hope that, quite apart from providing a greater level of comfort to these islanders, that this electricity upgrade will breathe a whole new life into this island and into the lives of the people who live here”, he concluded.
To celebrate the electricity upgrade, ESB presented Annie Alice O’Toole, Chairperson of Inisturk island community council with a voucher to purchase an electric cooker, to be used for the first time in their community centre.
ESB Chairman, Mr Tadhg O’Donoghue welcomed this latest announcement which adds to the connections which have been made in recent years for residents of Cape Clear, the Aran Islands, and other islands. ‘The work follows on from the Rural Electrification Scheme been 1946 and 1978 and we welcome the commitment of the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs and the Islands for aiding the provision of this infrastructure. Since the 1980’s ESB have operated and maintained single phase generators on the island to give a limited supply to the island, but this electricity upgrade will make a huge difference to islanders and visitors alike’ he said.
Islander, Bernard Heaney believes the upgrade will benefit the whole community. “Because only one generator was in service at any one time and the island operator manually switched between generators on a twice-daily basis, our electric alarm clocks and video timers had to be re-set every day! Many of the households have purchased electric cookers, storage heaters and power showers for the first time!” said Mr. Heaney.
It is hoped that five additional islands will be connected to the National Grid by cable this year including two islands off Clifden (Inisturk South and Inishturbot); Inishbarra island near Lettermullan off County Galway; Foynes Island off County Limerick; and Inis Mhic Cionaith off Carraroe, County Galway.