Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan has been called on by independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice to give a “much more active role” to Just Transition Commissioner, Kieran Mulvey.

Deputy Fitzmaurice made the calls while claiming that – while everyone “keeps talking about” ‘just transition’ – the “ordinary people have been left high and dry” so far.

Given the “number of issues that have arisen” when it comes to the milling of peat, the bog rehabilitation project and people who traditionally take plots of turf on Bord na Mona bogs in recent months, Roscommon-Galway TD Fitzmaurice has called for Commissioner Mulvey to become more involved.

Speaking on the matter,  deputy Fitzmaurice said: “One would have to wonder has the government side-lined the Just Transition Commissioner – because we rarely get to hear what he is working on.”

Calling on Minister Ryan to clarify what exactly Mulvey is “supposed to be doing”, the independent TD queried:

Is the commissioner going to get a just transition for the ordinary people who have for years taken plots of turf on Bord na Móna [BNM] bogs, or the peat operators who supply the horticultural sector – which will be craving peat in the coming months?

“As I understand it, there is a peat consultation group which has been established. One would imagine that the Just Transition Commissioner would potentially be chairing this group – but he is not even involved,” the TD noted.

“The Just Transition Commissioner should be dealing with all of the fallout from BNM’s decision to distance itself from harvesting peat.

“As it stands, BNM is trying to drop the hatchet on up to 4,000 households who have traditionally taken plots of turf on BNM bogs around the country,” deputy Fitzmaurice claimed.

Given Commissioner Mulvey’s experience of dealing with conflict in the Workplace Relations Commission, he is ideally qualified to assist in resolving the current standoff between BNM and the ordinary people who take plots of turf on BNM bogs.

“Everyone keeps talking about a ‘just transition’; but, funnily enough, the only one to have benefitted so far is BNM – which got in excess of €100 million – but the ordinary people have been left high and dry.

“Minister Ryan must direct the Just Transition Commissioner to become more involved in resolving these issues and real results must soon be evident,” he concluded.