Midlanders urged to ‘stay put’ until ‘just transition’ plan develops

People in the midlands who are affected by Bord na Móna’s plans to cease peat harvesting are being urged to remain in the area until a plan for a ‘just transition’ develops.

That’s the message of Kieran Mulvey, the Government-appointed just transition commissioner for the midlands, who spoke about the issue on RTÉ this week.

Mulvey made the remarks after meeting with local authorities and enterprise staff from six counties to talk about a job creation fund for Bord na Móna workers.

He called on those who face being laid-off to wait until the summer before making any decisions on their future in the area, to see how job creation plans play out.

“Look at all your options, because there will hopefully be an increase in employment in the region,” Mulvey commented.

He continued: “This is designed primarily to create within the midlands region a whole-of-community, whole-of-economic integration between those six counties involved – including Littleton in north Tipperary, and east Galway.

“Let’s look at the picture that may emerge before the summer,” he added.

Mulvey was appointed to the role of just transition commissioner back in November by Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment Richard Bruton.

He has been given the task of co-ordinating “the Government’s response to an accelerated exit from peat for electricity generation” in the midlands.

“The Government prioritised just transition in the recent budget, including a number of measures which will help ensure the transition which Kieran Mulvey, in his role as just transition commissioner, will now co-ordinate to ensure we secure long-term, sustainable employment for the midlands,” Minister Bruton had said at the time.

The first mention of a just transition came from Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe, when he announced that such a role would be created and appointed while he delivered Budget 2020 in the Dáil last October. It came among a number of other measures aimed at the midlands.