Belfast Telegraph

Editor's Viewpoint: Job losses at power station just the latest addition to our sorry economic saga, but the lights are still out at Stormont

It has been a difficult winter so far for many people and the latest bad news comes from East Antrim with the impending loss of jobs at the Kilroot Power Station, and the cutback in capacity at Ballylumford.

The total job losses could be nearly 300, while many others will be affected .

This is symbolic of the decline of the powerhouse of the economy, which played a pivotal role in Northern Ireland, particularly during the Ulster Workers' Council strike in 1974.

It is ironic that Kilroot has fallen victim to a radical change in the economic supply of energy across Ireland, as well as worries about fossil fuels. However, there is still some doubt about the security of supply when these cuts have been implemented.

These will be the latest additions to a sorry economic saga which has led to more than 3,000 job losses across Northern Ireland, and particularly in the County Antrim area.

The latest cutbacks will drastically affect the workers and their families, and many others .

What is happening is a re-run of the decline of traditional industries in East Belfast which has made that area an economic shadow of what it was for so many years.

It seems that the situation is beyond rescue for Kilroot, though something may be salvaged for Ballylumford.

What is needed is a plan to put something in place to counter these losses, but this is easier said than done.

Even if the new arrangements eventually lead to cheaper prices for consumers, the loss of a generation of workers is a high price to pay.

As usual, it is the people on the front line who suffer, and the situation is not being helped by the continual absence of a Stormont Executive.

Our politicians should be working together at the heart of the latest crisis, but disgracefully, the lights are still out at Stormont. Does anyone who should be up there have a conscience or a sense of responsibility, while the government of this province drifts on helplessly?

Belfast Telegraph

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