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Dublin: 10 °C Wednesday 16 October, 2019

ESB restores power to the Aran Islands

A special generator will power the islands until the undersea cable is repaired.

Updated 9.15pm.

ESB NETWORKS HAS restored power to 372 customers on Inis Meáin and Inis Oírr this evening.

Power was restored to the islands at approximately 9pm this evening after a weekend of no electricity.

Following the arrival of a specialised transformer from the UK this afternoon, ESB Networks crews worked to connect the two generators to the island electricity system.

unnamed Generator and transformer in place in Inis Oírr. Source: ESB

The generator will power the islands until the undersea cable is repaired.

The fault was due to damage to the subsea cable between the Inis Mór and Inis Meáin which is located 2 kilometres off the Inis Mór coast. This resulted in a power cut on Friday evening.

Engineers from ESB Networks and ESB International carried out a detailed examination of the damage and the seabed conditions, however a decision will be made later on what will be the best overall method of repair, which is estimated to take two to four weeks.

The power cuts has caused chaos on the islands, bringing businesses to a standstill and resulting in vaccines being stored in pub fridge.

Dr Mirko Jukic, the only GP servicing the islands, said he had to rely on hotels and pubs to store medication and vaccines in their fridges.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio 1, Dr Jukic said he also could not access patients’ files which are held on his computer.


Speaking this morning on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, spokesperson for the ESB Bernardine Maloney said that traditionally the broken line of cable would have had to be hauled up onto a barge to be repaired, but a newly developed method meant that it could be fixed undersea.

It is unclear how the cable became damaged, but the spokesperson said that it was likely “that it was impacted by something under the sea”.

Maloney said that the undersea cable had functioned for 20 years prior to this without fault, and that if a generator on the island were unused for that length of time it would not be operational.

ESB Networks said it would like to apologise to customers on Inis Oírr and Inis Meáin who were impacted by the outage.

We also wish to acknowledge our appreciation for the understanding afforded to ESB Networks crews by islanders while on Inis Oírr putting the generators and transformer in place.

Additional reporting by Elizabeth O’Malley and Christina Finn 

Read: All at sea: Two Aran Islands will be without power for the weekend

Read: Two Aran Islands could be without power until tomorrow

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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