Leinster Express Year in Review July 2012 Windfarm promises jobs boost

JULY was a month of promise on the job front as Element Power, a renewable energy developer announced plans for a project which will see wind power exported from the midlands to the UK.

JULY was a month of promise on the job front as Element Power, a renewable energy developer announced plans for a project which will see wind power exported from the midlands to the UK.

The project, entitled Greenwire will involve a total spend of €8 billion during construction and was estimated to create 10,000 jobs during construction and 3,000 permanent jobs.

As well as this the Togher Inland Port in Portlaoise emerged as one of the preferred locations for a new sugar beet and ethanol plant. The proposed €400 million state of the art facility would represent a massive investment in the county, as well as being expected to provide 500 jobs during construction, 250 jobs for staff running the plant, and a further 2,000 jobs as a result.

It was not a good month for hospital patients in the county however as plans to only serve frozen food people in hospital emerged. A statement from the HSE said that “in the current financial climate, the hospital must review all of its services to ensure efficiencies and effectiveness.

It was also the month that saw the forgery trial in which four Laois men were involved, collapse. The trial collapsed when it emerged that information on a fifth subject was deliberately withheld.

The prosecution entered a ‘Nolle Prosequi’, meaning it would not pursue the charges against the men, and they were discharged.

It was a bad month for two Laois trainee pilots - Stradbally native Cathal Simpson and Portlaoise man Mark Ryan, who were left grounded and unable to finish their courses as a result of the conflict between the Waterford based Pilot Training Centre of Ireland (PTC) and the Florida Institute of Technology Aviation.

Cathal was left stranded in Florida along with a number of other Irish trainee pilots,and only had 15 hours of flying left to complete his training, but was told it would cost an estimated €30,000 to finish his course.

Mark only had four weeks left on his training to be completed and said that he was down €18,500.

Elsewhere in the county festivals and vintage days were in full swing, with a host of activities for people all around the county to enjoy. Great days out included the Timahoe Medley Day, the Portarlington French Festival, the Ossory Show, Emo Vintage Rally, the Mountrath Whitehorse Festival, and Fisherstown’s annual tractor run, to name but a few.

The children of Rathdowney got a speical treat as the much anticipated Gort na nOg playground opened, with a huge crowd gathering for the celebrations. The playground was a result of many months of hard work both for the residents in the area as well as Laois VEC and Laois County Council.

Councillor John King said at the launch that the finished project portrayed the town as “having a community with a sense of purpose”.

There was also good news for young budding musicians in the county as Music Generation ran a number of summer camps in the county.

Music Generation spent the month of July preparing for the wide variety of courses and workshops that are now available to young people across Laois.

The School of Rock summer school ended on a high note for the organisation as they held a successful concert in the Dunamaise Arts Centre.