The Government has appointed Mr. Kieran Mulvey as the Just Transition Commissioner on a non-statutory basis to facilitate discussions and work with stakeholders to develop, mobilise and deliver opportunities for the midlands for both the workers directly affected and the wider community. I have asked the commissioner to engage with all relevant stakeholders, including local community organisations, Bord na Móna, ESB, the Midlands Transition Team, local authorities and public representatives, and relevant trade unions and workers' representatives.
The commissioner will report to Government through me and I have asked him to consider specifically the following matters in relation to recommendations to be made. This includes the delivery of the just transition measures provided for in budget 2020, the optimal structures or processes to support co-ordinated and effective delivery, including developing liaison channels between institutions in the region and central Government, the implementation of other actions underway, or planned, by Departments and agencies that could assist in the just transition and any additional actions or measures that he considers appropriate for Government consideration.
The commissioner has also been invited to take account of relevant existing plans and programmes such as the regional enterprise development.
On immediate resources that are available, the budget announced €20 million for a new energy efficiency retrofitting scheme to be focused on the midlands, €5 million for peatland rehabilitation outside of the Bord na Móna estate, €6 million for a dedicated new just transition fund, with ESB agreeing to contribute an additional €5 million. We are also seeking to repurpose the public service obligation, PSO, to support a much higher level of bog restoration on Bord na Móna bogs so that workers will continue to work on the bogs but instead of extracting, will work to rehabilitate the bogs. Finally, we have succeeded in having peat included in the EU coal platform which will be relevant to the commissioner's work.