Offaly TD will not support plan that sacrifices jobs in the Midlands
Independent TD for Laois-Offaly, Carol Nolan, has said that she will not support a Programme for Government that includes the continuation of the Just Transition policy in its current form or measures that will levy punitive tax and financial measures on to farmers and workers in the midland counties.
Deputy Nolan was speaking after she submitted a detailed list of policy priorities which are to be included in the Rural Independent Group’s response to meetings with Fianna Fail and Fine Gael:
“As a member of the Rural Independent Group I have made my position clear around the need to radically re-evaluate the direction and end-game of the Just Transition Strategy.
"What was initially proposed was, at least in theory, a fair and comprehensive approach that sought to maximise job retention while enabling other forms of employment for workers in the midlands.
"None of that has taken place. Instead what we have seen is a rapid escalation of the de-carbonisation process, a shortening of the timeframe in which this is due to take place and a total absence of focus on workers in the likes of Bord na Mona, the ESB and all other ancillary industries.
"My contribution to the Rural Independent Group’s response to Fianna Fail and Fine Gael is unequivocal about the need to implement strategic and targeted job creation initiatives that will support and accelerate economic recovery in the Midlands.
"At present, the entire focus seems to be on cutting jobs and the potential for jobs and doing anything to appease the green agenda without any meaningful assessment of how many rural livelihoods may be impacted.
"That is not the direction we need to be going in. There has to be a more appropriate level of balance.
"I have also called for the publication of the Mulvey Report and for a commitment to allow sufficient time for stakeholder and Union engagement on any recommendations that may emerge from the Mulvey Report.
"The Mulvey Report cannot be simply accepted as fait accompli if it means widespread economic disruption to the midlands.
"Difficult questions now need to be asked of the main political parties. Are they willing to sacrifice the regional growth of the midland counties in order to get into government?
"I for one am not. What I will do is engage constructively but critically on all policy priorities that affect the midlands and Offaly and Laois in particular,” concluded Deputy Nolan.