Local communities around the midlands are not benefitting from tangible results of the ‘Just Transition’, according to one senator.

Eugene Murphy questioned the viability of the Just Transition programme, claiming that locals were not seeing the creation of sustainable employment.

Murphy said that he had told the Taoiseach Micheál Martin at recent parliamentary party meetings that the region would not benefit “as anticipated”.

The senator also said he had a recent meeting with the Just Transition Commissioner Kieran Mulvey. Mulvey had, according to Murphy, expressed frustration at the speed of delivery of elements of the programme.

“A number of projects which were committed to creating a green and sustainable economy for the region were allocated funding under the Just Transition Fund but the problem is much of this funding is dependent on match funding or part funding being supplied by the various community groups,” Murphy said.

He added: “In many cases local communities cannot come up with this match funding. It’s just not viable, particularly in the past year due to the pandemic restrictions, so now we are left in a situation where this funding was allocated but may very well go to waste.

“The problem is if you lose the dressing room, you won’t win the match. I am afraid that the public will lose faith in the programme if they don’t see progress,” he remarked.

“So much was resting on the Just Transition fund. It is vital to the economic wellbeing of the midlands area and so many local community groups and local authorities have worked hard to put various projects together.

The senator also claimed that peat was being transported from the Mount Dillon area of Co. Roscommon to Co. Offaly to keep the Derrinlough peat briquette factory in Birr in operation.

“This is absolute lunacy. We are importing moss peat from Germany for the horticultural industry here in Ireland when in fact the peat deposits from Mount Dillon could instead be used,” Murphy stated.

“Hundreds of jobs in the horticultural industry here in Ireland are in jeopardy… There’s no joined-up thinking here at all,” he argued.