In recent weeks planning permission was sought by SSE Airtricity to begin the process of removing the old heavy oil producing power plant located on Great Island Co Wexford.
The decommissioned power station had long been a thorn in the side of Cheekpoint residents, Co Waterford, due to the noise that emenated from the plant. In recent years this has been added to with the construction of a new gas fired power station adjoining the old site. However the plans to remove the old plant and its 300 foot chimneys was not met with widespread support. Many in the community expressed a wish to see the chimneys retained and recently a scheduled meeting to begin a campaign had to be cancelled due to the Corona Virus social distancing rules. Foremost in the critics of the plan was noted historian Julian Walton who pointed out the heritage value. The local development group had pointed out the similar plans for the Dublin based poolbeg chimneys had led to a successful national campaign for their retention.
Locals on both the Waterford and Wexford sides however, were taken aback when workers moved in on the site this week and already one chimney has been knocked with the assistance of explosives. No damage was caused locally, but it is understood that some windows were blown in at Great Island, Ballykerough and Campile.
Speaking on behalf of Cheekpoint residents Paddy Lebowski expressed the disgust felt by many at this sneaky act of architectural vandalism. Paddy went on to question the social distancing rules which appear to be not in evidence on the site. However due to the 2km rule imposed on newspapers and media in general it is feared that the site will be completely cleared before any attention is brought to bare on the situation.
Thanks to Sean O Briain for technical assistance with the ariel shot used