Card-operated service station for Inis Mór

 

Ireland's first card-operated public service station has opened on the Aran Islands.

Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Éamon Ó Cuív TD officially unveiled the facility on Inis Mór, which has one tank earmarked for biofuels. It is the latest landmark initiative to be rolled-out on the off-shore islands after last March's launch of an electric bus.

Minister Ó Cuív also turned the sod on the island's €40m port project - the single biggest investment in the islands in the country's history. "We are all aware of the challenges posed by climate change and the need to find more sustainable energy sources and practices" - the Minister said.

"My department has been working closely with Sustainable Energy Ireland over the past year and Terms of Reference have been drafted for a major energy needs survey of the islands - using the Aran Islands as a pilot - aimed eventually at developing strategies that will reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

"The station provides the islanders with diesel at present and I believe that one tank has been earmarked for biofuels, for when they become commercially viable on the island" - he added.

The department confirmed that the station will be unmanned and customers will be able to refuel and pay at pumps using special cards - details of which have yet to be revealed.

Inis Mór is the country's largest populated off-shore island with 824 inhabitants. The harbour project - Cill Rónáin - was announced last July and Minister Ó Cuív said it is further evidence of the Government's commitment to rolling-out infrastructural projects for isolated communities.

"The scale of these works demonstrates the importance of our islands in a national context. It is also a clear indication of our commitment to levelling the playing field throughout the country by providing the necessary infrastructure to isolated areas" - the Minister concluded.