A public consultation on a draft version of Ireland’s ‘Territorial Just Transition Plan’ has been opened by Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan.

The consultation is being carried out in partnership with the Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly.

The plan will “set out how Ireland proposes to invest funding from the EU Just Transition Fund to support a just transition in the wider Midlands region”, the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications said.

Up to €84.5 million has been allocated to Ireland under the EU Just Transition Fund over the period to 2027. The government has said it will complement this funding with exchequer resources.

The public consultation is asking for stakeholders’ views on the transition process and the draft plan which, when finalised, will be submitted to the European Commission for approval.

The consultation invites stakeholders to complete an online survey and to attend online workshops.

Two workshops, on January 18 and 25, will allow for “in-depth” discussions on priorities for the EU Just Transition Fund .

A third online workshop for young people in the region is being organised with national youth representative organisations to “ensure that people impacted have the opportunity to shape the plan”.

There will also be specific information sessions for Oireachtas members, as well as relevant local authorities and their members, as part of the consultation.

The Territorial Just Transition Plan for Ireland is a response to the ending of peat extraction in the Midlands region for electricity generation.

According to the department, the plan identifies the following development needs for the region:

  • Modernising the business environment and creating employment opportunities;
  • Enhancing the skills profile;
  • Promoting environmental sustainability and industrial heritage;
  • Enhancing the potential of the region as a place to live and work.

Commenting on the consultation, Minister Ryan said said: “This government is committed to a just transition for the Midlands region and has dedicated significant funding to support workers, companies and communities following the early closure in 2020 of peat-fired power stations.

“I am pleased to announce that I have decided to appoint the Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly and the managing authority to deliver this funding. The assembly is the key statutory body representing the development needs of the region,” the minister added.

The consultation is open until February 14.