Offaly Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen has expressed serious concern for the future of jobs at Bord na Mona following a poor harvest and the unseasonably wet weather over the past few months.
Deputy Cowen has written to the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte on two occasions requesting an urgent meeting with the Minister and Chief Executive of Bord na Mona Gabriel Darcy. The Minister failed to respond to the first request and merely acknowledged the latest one. without making any commitment to prioritise this issue.
“The situation at Bord na Mona is extremely serious after what has been a difficult year for the company so far. With a restructuring programme likely to be announced soon, jobs in this region are on the line,” said Deputy Cowen.
“Any significant job losses will have an enormous impact not just on the workers and their families, but also on the local economy. It is imperative that as public representatives we do everything in our power to safeguard jobs at Bord na Mona. I first requested an urgent meeting with Minister Rabbitte and Mr Darcy six weeks ago to discuss this matter, but having received absolutely no response, I wrote to him again. His office has acknowledged my latest letter but has failed to engage further on the matter.
“It is appalling that the Minister has not seen this as a serious enough to warrant his attention. His apparent lack of interest in what happens to these workers is shameful. As someone who has been a public representative in Offaly for 20 years, I know how important these jobs are to the local economy. Minister Rabbitte has a duty to start taking an interest in job security at Bord na Mona and the future of the economy in this region.
“Once again I am appealing to the Minister to facilitate a meeting between his officials, management at Bord na Mona and local public representatives. This is too important for political games – we must all come together without delay to discuss the future of Bord na Mona and its staff.”