Fianna Fáil TD for Longford-Westmeath, Robert Troy, has called on the Government to provide certainty for Bord na Móna workers employed in peat powered power plants across the Midlands following the High Court’s decision to quash an extension of the plant’s peat extraction licence.
Deputy Troy called the High Court’s decision to quash An Bord Pleanála’s previous decision to extend the peat extraction licence for the power plant in Edenderry is alarming. He said the decision means that the lifespan of the power plant is now significantly reduced.
“There are over 180 jobs at risk as a result of this ruling, Deputy Troy said. “There are also serious concerns surrounding the future of other peat-powered power plants and the extensive employment they provide in the Midlands through peat harvesting operations. Bord na Móna is a significant employer in the region, but this High Court ruling puts a question mark over the company’s future operations.
“Fianna Fáil previously brought forward measures to continue with peat extraction in order to support job creation and allow management at Bord na Móna to transition to a more sustainable method of energy production. A central part of An Bord Pleanála’s decision to extend the peat extraction licence in the first instance was to allow the company put in place a new form of energy production. This ruling means management at the company are now racing against time to secure the future of the plant.
Deputy Troy revealed that his office has already been contacted by a number of workers who are worried about the impact of this decision. “The Government needs to urgently set out a plan to ensure the long-term operation of this strategic power plant,” he said. “The plant is an important source of employment and economic activity across the Midlands, and its future cannot be put in jeopardy.”