Thursday, 3 October 2019

Questions (283)

Denis Naughten

Question:

283. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the steps he is taking to ensure a just transition in Bord na Móna in view of further concerns regarding the future of 2,000 jobs by the group of unions following a meeting with management at the end of September 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40257/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

Government has committed to delivering a whole of Government approach, and to working with local stakeholders, to ensure that a just transition is provided to those impacted by Ireland’s move away from carbon-intensive sources of fuel, such as peat. There will be several strands to Government’s response. These include the diversification of Bord na Móna; an accelerated programme of bog restoration; and other initiatives for regional development.

The whole of Government Climate Action Plan was designed with the aim of embedding the concept of just transition into policy instruments. It is essential that the burdens borne are fair and those regions and sectors that have to bear most of the adverse effects of the change necessary can have this mitigated to some effect.

A ‘Just Transition Review Group’ has been established within the National Economic and Social Council. This Review Group will review the ongoing transition and identify specific transition needs for those affected, as well as wider communities and enterprises.

An interdepartmental group, led by Department of An Taoiseach, has also been established to develop a just transition plan for the Midlands.

Bord na Móna has been an integral part of the commercial and social development of the Midlands for decades, creating significant employment in the region. Government intends for this to continue into the future.

In its strategy to exit peat, Bord na Móna envisages the development and scaling up of new business opportunities to ensure the future commercial viability of the company and enable it to continue to fulfil its mandate to be an employer of scale in the Midlands.

I want to assure the Deputy that I am monitoring the situation closely and am acutely conscious of the impact the recent uncertainty is having on the employees of Bord na Móna, their families, and the wider communities.