Midlands facing ‘economic catastrophe in 68 days’ – TD

The midlands region is facing an “economic catastrophe in just 68 days” unless action is taken by the Government, according to one independent TD.

Denis Naughten, a TD for Roscommon-Galway, was speaking in the Dáil this week when he said that up to 4,000 jobs at the region’s power plants and in other dependent activities could be affected.

He also claimed that Bord na Móna was currently borrowing money “on a day-to-day basis” to pay staff.

We are facing an economic catastrophe across the middle of Ireland in just 68 days’ time with the loss of 2,000 direct jobs and another 2,000 jobs that are dependent on these employees, unless action is taking to secure Bord na Móna.

“At a meeting in Dublin on Tuesday, TDs were told by the Bord na Móna group of unions that the company is currently borrowing money on a day-to-day basis to pay its staff,” Naughten told fellow TDs.

“We also know that the public service obligation finishes for Lough Ree [Lanesboro] on December 9 and for West Offaly [Shannonbridge] on December 31 next,” he added.

The TD labelled the situation “unsustainable” and called on the Government to take “urgent and immediate steps”.

Specifically, Naughten is calling for the following measures:

  • “A clear unambiguous statement from Government reiterating its support for the co-firing of the two plants with peat and biomass;
  • “That the minister immediately calls in the chief executive of both Bord na Móna and the ESB to get absolute clarity set on the intention to submit a new planning application for West Offaly and to deal with the three million tonnes of milled peat that are on the bogs;
  • “To immediately release funds from the climate action fund to start the rehabilitation of decommissioned bogs across the midland counties.”

The deputy concluded: “Unless we have decisive action in the coming weeks, we could be facing a very serious economic catastrophe before Christmas.”