The Green Party has called on the government to do more for communities and workers affected by the news that Bord na Móna are to cut hundreds of jobs as part of the company’s restructuring plans.
Green Party candidate for Laois-Offaly Pippa Hackett: “This is a bitter blow to the Midlands, and is devastating to its workers and their families. It is totally unnecessary. Bord Na Móna has known for years that peat extraction was coming to an end, and yet they have put nothing in place for their workers, many of whom have been with the company for decades.
“Closing peat plants should not result in mass job losses. The Green Party is actively addressing these challenges, and just last week made a preliminary submission of the ‘Just Transition (Worker and Community Environmental Rights) Bill’ to the Oireachtas, which follows on from a motion submitted last November. The ‘Just Transition’ policy recognises the need to move away from a fossil fuel economy, but seeks to do this in the fairest way possible, for all parties, including the fossil fuel industry workers.
“Born Na Móna must involve their workers in any decision-making processes. They should utilise the wealth of knowledge that exists among their fossil fuel engineers, their service personnel, and their peat plant workers into creating a carbon friendly future for the company.”
Green Party Spokesperson for Energy Transition, Gearóid Fitzgibbon: “Ireland’s Midlands have tremendous skills and resources in its peat industries, and Bord na Móna and the State should put these to work. We want Bord Na Móna to provide the training necessary for new skills and ensure social protection for their workers, their families, and the communities in which they live. Through a new Adaptability and Transition Fund, these workers should be engaged and up-skilled to run a new Midlands Energy and Retrofit Hub. With a new Retrofit Hub, and environmentally friendly developments such as those seen at Lough Boora and Mountlucas, jobs can be both maintained and created at these locations. There is a huge area of land there to maintain and there is no reason why jobs could not be created to do just that.
“We look forward to our Bill being initiated in The Dáil as soon as possible and we are confident of cross-party support. Everyone now accepts that we need to move to a cleaner, greener economy, and by creating more carbon-friendly jobs it will also serve to provide financial and social security for many hundreds of workers in the Midlands.”
Green Party Spokesperson for Local Government, Regional Development, and Rural Affairs, Cllr Malcolm Noonan: “There exists an opportunity to retrain some employees now in eco tourism and social history initiatives related to the bogs or in the reconstruction of these unique habitats; which in the long term will contribute to the local economy. However, this can only come about if a vision for the future management of these vast land assets is progressed and such a plan must be done with workers’ futures and the local economy in mind.”
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