A TD has called on the government to prioritise Co. Offaly for funding under the Just Transition Fund (JTF).

Laois-Offaly TD Carol Nolan was speaking during Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil yesterday (Thursday, May 3), raising the issue with Tánaiste Micheál Martin.

Nolan suggested that Co. 0ffaly – which has been disproportionately affected by green and renewable energy policies due to the prominence of turf harvesting for electricity production in the county – has not received as much funding as it should have under the JTF.

The Tánaiste told Nolan that he would speak to other government ministers on the matter, as well as local representatives.

Nolan had to told the Fianna Fáil leader that the “perception of the EU Just Transition Fund and its capacity to act as a catalyst for economic revival in Co. Offaly suffered a fatal blow” when a recent round of funding from the JTF saw only €500,000 allocated to the county out of €18 million.

“As one can imagine, this has been greeted with great disappointment, frustration and anger,” Nolan told the Dáil.

According to the independent TD, Offaly County Council arranged a special meeting with all county councillors and Oireachtas members from the county on the matter, which took place this week.

Commenting on this meeting, she said: “I concur with what every councillor, from all parties and none, said, which is that Co. Offaly is not being treated fairly”.

She called for the county to be given priority status when it comes to JTF funding.

Nolan said: “There has been no proper sustainable job creation as a result of what happened (the end of turf burning for electricity production). This process will not be seen as just, by me and many others in the county, until we can actually see jobs being created.

“Job creation will be highly dependent on the investment that comes in and the fact that we have only received €500,000 out of an €18 million pot is scandalous. It is a national scandal and it has to be looked at. We need this type of money to be able to create jobs,” she added.

The deputy told the Dáil: “We are trying to work our way out of this mess while trying to move forward and create the jobs we so badly need in Co. Offaly but if we are only given 3% of a funding pot, it is not acceptable. We need urgent intervention.”