Local Minister of State, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, was one of four Ministers who travelled to the Midlands to meet with those affected by last week’s decision taken by ESB to cease generating electricity in Shannonbridge and Lanesboro at the end of 2020.
Minister Moran was accompanied by yhe Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton TD, the Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe TD and the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan TD.
While meeting with employees of both Bord na Móna and ESB and reiterated the Government’s commitment to the Just Transition programme, at the core of which is the creation of jobs and retraining opportunities for those effected by the announcement.
There will be four hundred jobs , directly and indirectly, created to retrofit homes in the Midlands, starting with social homes, while up to one hundred jobs through the National Parks and Wildlife Service to rehabilitate bogland will also come to fruition.
Bord na Mona will also prioritise employment creation with one hundred new direct jobs and in excess of one hundred and fifty indirect jobs involved in the development of renewable energy assets by 2023, one hundred jobs in recycling operations, while there is the potential for a further one hundred and fifty to three hundred jobs in new green business projects.
Pertaining to the Just Transition programme, Minister of State, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran endorsed the Government’s continued commitment to the relevant measures which were initially detailed in Budget 2020.
“As a local Minister I want to support the Government’s continued commitment to just transition measures announced in Budget 2020 and I look forward to their speedy implementation so that the maximum benefit is gained by those workers and local communities most affected. The Government has shown that it is taking the lead in seeking collective solutions that will empower workers in finding new and alternative employment opportunities to meet workplace changes,” Minister Moran emphasised.
Echoing similar sentiments, Minister Bruton noted in finite detail the Just Transition programme measures.
“The Just Transition programme is specifically targeted at the Midlands. In recognition of their longstanding relationship with communities in the region, the ESB has agreed to contribute €5m to the fund increasing its total value to €11m. This funding will support retraining and reskilling workers and assist local communities and businesses in the Midlands to adjust to the low carbon transition. There will be further consultation with the structures in place in the region, including the Midlands transition team, on the application of the funding.
“An allocation of €5m will be afforded to bog restoration and rehabilitation which will restore protected raised bogs including Bord na Móna bogs to their natural habitat. This programme will support the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS ) to restore 1,800 hectares of bog in seven counties. It will create 70 jobs in year one rising to 100 as the programme develops,
“A sum of €20m will be allocated to deliver new model to group housing upgrades together as set out in the Climate Action Plan. Targeted at the Midlands, this will support an estimated 400 jobs directly and indirectly, as well as significantly upgrading the social stock in the region during 2020,” Minister Bruton commented.