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13 Aug 2022

An 'era of opportunity' created for Offaly proclaim FG councillors

SHANNONBRIDGE

An era of opportunity has been created for Offaly says FG councillors

Offaly Fine Gael Councillors, John Clendennen, Noel Cribbin, Neil Feighery and Liam Quinn have said that the decision by the Government to 100 per cnt match fund the €84.5 million for the Midlands under the EU Just Transition Fund creates an era of opportunity for Offaly.

“The Cabinet’s approval of the Territorial Just Transition Plan will deliver over €160 million to the areas in the Midlands most impacted by the decarbonisation of our local economy and in particular here in Offaly.

“We must ensure now that all sectors of our local economy gear up to ensure that we secure the funding required to deliver a Just Transition for Offaly.

“The plan announced this week identifiesthree key pillars for investment and it will require a concerted effort by Offaly County Council, state agencies and the business community to ensure that we are successful in this competitive process.

“The decision of An Bord Pleanála in September 2019 to refuse permission to ESB to co-fire West Offaly Power in Shannonbridge with peat and biomass was a devastating blow and brought about the rapid acceleration of the decarbonisation of Offaly and the Midlands region. This was not a Government decision, it flew in the face of its policy towards a more gradual decarbonisation of the Midlands region.

“As the local Government TD at the time, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy worked to ensure a swift and meaningful response from the Government working with her colleague the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, Richard Bruton TD. A significant body of diplomatic work was carried out through our network of MEPs and our Commissioner at the time Phil Hogan to ensure that the Midlands region secured support from the European Commission’s START (Secretariat Technical Assistance to Regions in Transition) and for the region to be a new member of the European Platform for Coal Regions in Transition.

“Since then every effort has been made to ensure that supports needed for the region to transform our regional economy are delivered.

“The decarbonisation transition continues to have a huge impact on workers, their families, the local economy and Offaly County Council's finances. Working in partnership with our Dáil colleague, Deputy Charlie Flanagan we continue to deliver a strong message to Government about the disproportionate impact being felt here in Offaly compared to other counties that have been included in today’s announcement. 

“This week's announcement is however a very positive and hopeful step towards delivering a meaningful and sustainable Just Transition for Offaly. It is an opportunity not to be missed by the Midlands and in particular here in County Offaly. We have a once in a lifetime chance of getting this right.

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