Offaly TD welcomes Minister Bruton meeting to address decarbonisation issues for workers

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Offaly TD welcomes Minister Bruton meeting to address decarbonisation issues for workers

Offaly TD welcomes Minister Bruton meeting to address decarbonisation issues for workers

Offaly Fine Gael TD, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, has welcomed Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, Richard Bruton TD’s meeting with unions in recent days to discuss the implications for workers as a result of Bord na Móna’s decarbonisation transition.

“The Dáil resumed on Tuesday last and I raised with Minister Bruton the decision in July by An Bord Pleanála to refuse the application by the ESB to co-fuel the Shannonbridge power station with biomass. Following this decision, on foot of my request, Minister Bruton met with all the relevant stakeholders at an urgent meeting at Áras an Chontae in Tullamore in early August," she said.

“In the Dáíl I asked the Minister to provide me with an update on this important matter and I also asked if he would meet with the workers’ unions to discuss the implications for workers and the communities in Offaly.

“Minister Bruton confirmed to me that he intended to meet with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) and I understand that a constructive meeting took place late last week. Minister Bruton met with Patricia King, ICTU and Willie Noone, Bord na Móna Group of Unions and other union representatives, where he reiterated the Government’s commitment to ensuring a just transition for workers.

“During the Topical Issue debate, the Minister said that following his meeting in Brussels in July with the European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete, he convinced the Commissioner to include the Midlands region on the Commission’s Platform for Coal and Other Carbon Intensive Regions in Transition.

“I was pleased to learn that Ireland’s specialist team will arrive in Ireland in mid-October. I emphasised to the Minister the importance of local engagement and Minister confirmed that this would be prioritised.

“The team will work to help develop strategies and projects for the region, focusing in particular on the employment challenges faced by workers affected by decarbonisation. The team will also assist in identifying appropriate EU funding opportunities for the midlands.

“This morning, it is encouraging to see the Lough Ree power station refired.

“At this time of huge uncertainty for workers in West Offaly power and the local community, I welcome Minister Bruton and the Taoiseach’s reassurances. In the Dáil debate, Minister Bruton said that if an earlier exit from peat production is required that the Government is determined to ensure a just transition for workers and the region," Deputy Corcoran Kennedy concluded.