A portion of the increased revenues from the rise in the carbon tax, announced in today’s budget, will be put towards the midlands region.

The purpose of this, according to Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe, is to ensure that “no one group of citizens, of workers, of communities or of enterprises is left behind” in the new measures to address climate change.

“Our midlands will be the first region facing this change, so this is why I am using a portion of the carbon tax revenues next year to fund a package targeted to the midlands,” said the minister in the Dáil as he delivered Budget 2020.

Specifically, €20 million will be used in the creation of an “energy efficiency scheme” targeted initially at the social housing stock in the region, according to Minister Donohoe.

The aim of this, the minister said, is to create new sustainable employment in the region.

On top of that, a further €5 million is being set aside for peat land rehabilitation, which constitutes a 250% increase in the funding for this purpose.

Furthermore, and separate to the above measures, the minister also announced “a dedicated new Just Transition fund”, which he said would “be devoted to those priorities identified by the communities themselves”.

€6 million was also announced with the purpose of “helping communities determine the most pressing priorities”. Richard Bruton, the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, has been charged with appointing a ‘Just Transition’ commissioner.

According to the finance minister, this commissioner will engage with the “relevant stakeholders” in the midlands region, including Bord na Móna and the worker unions, and will also work with a local taskforce and the National Economic and Social Council.

“In the midlands in particular, job losses are already being experienced. Midlands communities understandably feel very concerned about the potential closure of Bord na Móna and ESB power stations in the region,” said Minister Donohoe.

“These companies have sustained families and communities for many decades,” he added during his budget delivery.