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Just Transition Fund

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 27 January 2021

Wednesday, 27 January 2021

Ceisteanna (39, 51)

Claire Kerrane

Ceist:

39. Deputy Claire Kerrane asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications if funding will be provided under the just transition fund for projects (details supplied) in County Longford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3682/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Martin Browne

Ceist:

51. Deputy Martin Browne asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the measures that have been taken to assist the horticultural peat sector under the just transition fund. [4007/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Environment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 39 and 51 together.

The objective of the Just Transition Fund is to fund innovative projects that contribute to the economic, social and environmental sustainability of the Midlands region and which have employment and enterprise potential.

My Department held a competitive call for applications to this Fund, which closed on 17 July 2020, in response to which over 100 applications were received. Provisional offers of funding totalling €29 million have now been made to 63 projects, of which 16 have already concluded funding agreements with my Department. Further information on these projects is available on https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/ed10d-just-transition-fund.

Of the remaining projects which are subject to finalisation of funding agreements, a number have been subject to a further state aid assessment to finalise the level of funding that may be granted. These projects have been informed of the outcome of this assessment and have been requested to provide further financial information to my Department.

Subject to satisfactory verification of this additional information and the provision of additional relevant material, such as proof of planning permission, my Department intends to issue final letters of offer and funding agreements to all provisionally approved projects. No formal funding commitments will be entered into by my Department unless and until a final letter of offer and funding agreement has been concluded by both the Department and the relevant project.

In relation to assistance for the horticultural peat sector, a number of provisionally approved projects under the Just Transition Fund relate to agricultural enterprises and peatlands-orientated recreational amenity projects.

In addition, the Government has separately approved funding of €108 million for Bord na Móna’s large-scale peatlands restoration project on 24 November 2020. The plan will protect the storage of 100 million tonnes of carbon, create approximately 350 jobs, and contribute to Ireland’s target of being climate-neutral by 2050. 

While my Department has no direct role in relation to the horticulture sector, a working group is being established by the Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform in the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage to examine the future role of peat in the horticulture sector, in relation to a long-term solution for peat alternatives for horticultural purposes. 

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