Bord na Móna workers set to protest over job lay-offs in Lanesboro

Bord na Móna workers in Co. Longford are holding a public protest in Lanesboro this evening, Monday, July 22, in response to the company’s announcement on Friday that it would lay-off 72 permanent staff today.

The Lough Ree Power Station in south Longford was closed on Friday, July 5, by ESB after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) initiated legal proceedings because it deemed the temperature of cooling water being discharged from the facility into the river to be too high.

In the meantime, Bord na Móna announced that as a direct result of the shutdown it had been forced to lay-off a large number of its workers including 78 seasonal workers and 72 permanent staff.

Subsequently, a meeting was arranged with the Bord na Móna group of unions on Friday, July 12.

Despite this and numerous meetings with union officials over the last two weeks the company announced on Friday that it planned to lay-off the workers today.

‘Appalling and unacceptable’

Willie Noone group secretary of the group of unions involved in the matter said Bord na Móna had treated its workers “appallingly” and the protest had been organised to highlight the “devastating impact” its decision will have on the local community and its people.

Noone also warned that an announcement by Bord na Móna in respect of Shannon Bridge is expected tomorrow, Tuesday, July 23, and the general consensus was that “bad news is on the way”.

Late last Friday evening the company indicated it would lay-off 72 staff; the treatment of the workers in Lanesboro by Bord na Móna is absolutely appalling and unacceptable.

He continued: “Every single seasonal worker is gone at this stage; there is work in other plants for many of the permanent workers, yet the company refuses to do anything about this – now those workers are being sent packing by Bord na Móna.”

Noone said the impact of the company’s decision to lay-off 150 employees – in total – on the people of Lanesboro, their families and the wider community would be “devastating”.

“We are not going to allow a situation to develop where Bord na Móna divides an entire community and has neighbour against neighbour and worker against worker,” he concluded.