Independent TD for Laois-Offaly Carol Nolan has reiterated her call for a definitive date to be provided on when Ireland will receive the pledge of €84 million from the EU Just Transition Fund.
Deputy Nolan was speaking after attending a conference entitled ‘Just Transition‘, which took place in the Bridge House Hotel, Tullamore this week.
The event was organised by The Diversity Europe Group of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) in partnership with Irish Rural Link, and was attended by Kieran Mulvey, the Just Transition Commissioner, among others.
Deputy Nolan said that she attended the conference to raise a number of the points she had highlighted in her submission to the Department of the Environment’s Consultation on the EU Just Transition Fund and the development of a draft Territorial Just Transition Plan.
“While I welcome the fact that creating jobs was on today’s agenda, the plain fact remains that we have been talking about the need to do this for well over five years now with next to nothing to show for it in terms of large-scale, concrete employment opportunities,” deputy Nolan said.
“We are also no closer to knowing when the EU will be in a position to provide Ireland and more specifically, Offaly, Laois and the midland region with the €84 million from the Just Transition Fund.
“I have received no firm assurances that Offaly will be prioritised in terms of a funding distribution mechanism being put in place to ensure the money will be targeted to those areas that have experienced the greatest level of negative economic impact rather than on territorial coverage per se,” she added.
“Talk is all well and good, but it won’t pay the mortgages or the bills for the people that I represent; people who are completely disillusioned by the Just Transition agenda and its inability to translate green rhetoric into economic growth and full-time jobs.”
The fund is one of the elements of the Just Transition Mechanism for a transition towards climate neutrality.
The European Commission provides grants to member states having identified the territories expected to be the most negatively impacted by the shift towards a greener society.
The Just Transition Fund supports the economic diversification and reconversion of the territories concerned. According to the commission, this means:
- Investments in Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs);
- Creation of new firms;
- Research and innovation;
- Environmental rehabilitation;
- Clean energy;
- Upskilling and reskilling of workers;
- Job-search assistance;
- Transformation of existing carbon-intensive installations.