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Offaly County Council welcomes ESB Community Benefit Package for West Offaly Villages

Offaly County Council is delighted to welcome the announcement by ESB of two significant supports for villages in West Offaly. These supports are in recognition of the impact the closure of West Offaly Power had on the area. Firstly, ESB has agreed a long-term lease of its Dalton Centre building in Shannonbridge to Offaly County Council on the basis that it will be used to yield a benefit for the community. Secondly, it has awarded a fund of €500,000 to the Local Authority for the benefit of the villages in the hinterland of the old West Offaly Power Station.

The Dalton Centre, which is adjacent to the West Offaly Power Station site, is viewed as a significant resource both in terms of its footprint (1,200 square meters) as well as offering potential economic opportunities. Built as a blending facility for milled peat sullying the power station, it was never used for that purpose but was previously used to house ESB archive material, the Dalton centre is named after a former Director of ESB Customer Services. A number of opportunities for future uses for the building are being explored by the Local Authority in consultation with the local community with the ultimate aim of providing community benefit.

The award of €500,000 will, where possible and practicable, allow for improvements to landscaping, kerbing, biodiversity, lighting, footpaths and amenity improvement.  Works will vary from village to village and will be carried out in consultation with the community in each village to include Shannonbridge, Belmont, High Street, Clonfanlough, Shannon Harbour, Moystown and Clonmacnoise. The works will have a beneficial and lasting impact on safety and amenity in the villages and will be managed by the Local Authority.

Chief Executive of Offaly County Council, Anna Marie Delaney, confirmed “the transfer of the Dalton Centre and the €500,000 fund awarded by ESB to Offaly County Council will allow the Local Authority to deliver tangible and meaningful benefits to the local communities in West Offaly in response to their needs”.

Ms Delaney outlined that €750,000 had been invested in several infrastructural projects in Shannonbridge village over the last six years, including public realm enhancements, road improvements, community hall and village playground refurbishments, and that these, and future improvements, will complement Offaly County Council’s €220,000 commitment for Road and Safety improvements on the eastern approach to Shannonbridge village along the R357 during 2024.

Cathaoirleach of Offaly County Council, Cllr Eddie Fitzpatrick also welcomed this development outlining “we are delighted the ESB have provided this building and this fund for the benefit of local communities.”

Mr Jim Dollard, ESB Executive Director, Generation and Trading, commented: “ESB has a long history in electricity generation in the Midlands.  ESB is very grateful to the staff and broader communities involved for their support over those years. ESB is very pleased therefore to transfer the Dalton Centre to Offaly County Council for community gain. In the presence of the Dalton family and on behalf of ESB, I am delighted to formally transfer the Dalton Centre to Offaly County Council for the benefit of the surrounding community.”  

Offaly County Council Cathaoirleach Cllr Eddie Fitzpatrick and Chief Executive Anna Marie Delaney welcomes ESB Community Benefit Package for West Offaly Villages by Mr Jim Dollard, Executive Director, ESB Generation & Trading