Coney Island to get Electricity

By Michael Moran

Sligo Champion, April 1999

Sligo’s Coney Island will soon switch on to a new electricity supply service. Fifty years after the introduction of the rural electrification scheme, the ESB is set to seek a licence from the Department of the Marine to lay an underground cable to the island, and work is expected to be completed before the end of the year.

The McGowan family are the only family permanently living on the island. However Coney Island also hosts a number of part-time residents and attracts a significant number of visitors, particularly during the summer months. Mr John McGowan has been involved in the campaign to have a national electricity supply connected to many of Ireland’s offshore islands.

This morning, Labour Alderman Declan Bree confirmed to The Sligo Champion that Coney Island was soon to be connected to the national electricity grid. He has already informed the island residents of the latest development, following on-going representations on the issue to the Department of Arts, Heritage, the Gaeltacht and the Islands. Alderman Bree said that in the past the cost of providing an electricity supply to Coney Island was prohibitive.

However, last year, I made a submission directly to the Department outlining the case directly for an electricity supply for the island and highlighted the case of the McGowan family, he recalled.

Alderman Bree explained that he had discussed the issue further with the Minister for State, Eamon O’Cuive, in October of last year and he had given an undertaking to meet the Chief Executive of the ESB to discuss possible proposals for Coney Island, and a number of other offshore islands.

Earlier this month, the Minister advised Alderman Bree that he had authorised funding to subsidise the provision of the electricity supply, while the ESB had stated that they were providing the balance of the cost.

I understand the ESB is now seeking a licence from the Department of the Marine to lay the underground cable. Householders on the island will be informed of the intention to provide a supply, if required, and I am pleased to say that the ESB have confirmed that all works on the project will be completed before the end of the year, said Alderman Bree. All citizens should have the option of an electricity supply in this day and age and I very much welcome this development. Coney Island is unique, a delightful and enchanting island of peace and tranquillity, with unspoiled beaches and isolated from the mainland in every respect. I believe, the provision of electricity to homes on the island can greatly benefit the householders, without interfering in any significant way with the ambience, he said.

Alderman Bree noted that the clock in Michael James Ward’s pub on Coney Island carried an inscription -

Time stands still on Coney Island.

He commented:

" As it enters a new millennium, with a new source of energy, I have no doubt but that residents and visitors alike will confirm their wish that time will continue to stand still on Coney Island".