Fianna Fáil Senator Eugene Murphy has said that “decarbonisation is no longer a buzzword; it’s a reality” as rural areas feel the “fallout from the loss of Bord na Móna and ESB jobs”.
Senator Murphy welcomed that Minister for Climate Action, Communication Networks and Transport Eamon Ryan has accepted an invitation to visit the region of Co. Longford and Co. Roscommon to “see first-hand the fallout from the loss of jobs”.
During last week’s Seanad discussion on the second stage of the National Oil Reserves Agency (Amendment) and Provision of Central Treasury Services Bill 2020, Senator Murphy raised the issue of job losses in the region with Minister Ryan.
Murphy said he has “long championed the need to examine alternatives for the use of the power stations”.
He added: “As part of the planning conditions of the closure of the ESB power stations in Lanesboro and Shannonbridge, the structures must be demolished.
“Decarbonisation is no longer a buzzword; it’s a reality for every part of our society.
How we achieve it and overcome difficulties will be challenging, but those difficulties will not be overcome by creating ‘us-and-them’ situations. Incorrect material is sometimes put out in order to frighten people.
Murphy described the situation relating to Bord na Móna and Just Transition as “shocking”.
“The transition [from peat production] was to occur over an eight-year period but has happened virtually overnight,” he said.
“That has created a great challenge, but the local people look forward to engaging on the matter. Let us come forward with jobs. All the better if they are green jobs.”
‘Change is coming rapidly’
Murphy added that Bord na Móna and ESB were the “economic lifeline of our locality for 70 years and thousands of people relied on them”.
We all must acknowledge that change is coming rapidly and we must ensure that those communities are not left behind.
Minister Eamon Ryan said Just Transition will be “good for rural Ireland, including Roscommon and Longford”.
“It has to be. Many of these energy projects will be located in rural Ireland and I absolutely agree with Senator Murphy that this cannot be a case of them and us,” Minister Ryan added.
The minister suggested Bord na Móna going from “brown to green” as a real possibility for the company.
Bord na Móna Annual Report 2020
Bord na Móna published today, Wednesday, July 22, its annual report for 2020. The report outlines the company’s net loss of €22.5 million, due to costs associated with “the strategic transition to a low-carbon business”.