There were calls for a return to ‘just transition’ at a meeting of Oireachtas members to discuss ongoing Bord na Móna job fears at Lough Ree and Shannonbridge Power Stations yesterday (Wednesday) in Tullamore.
Local public representatives, Deputies Eugene Murphy, Denis Naughten and Michael Fitzmaurice and Senator Maura Hopkins, were among those who met with Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment Richard Bruton and Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan to discuss the threat to jobs in the region. Junior Ministers Sean Canney and Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran were also in attendance at the meeting.
Those in attendance were adamant that the area could not afford any further job losses and the call for a return to ‘just transition’ was echoed by local public representatives.
While Minister Bruton insisted that it was not in the Government’s interests for jobs to go without a proper transition plan in place, he was unable to offer any assurances or provide answers to the ongoing issues at Lough Ree and Shannonbridge.
Fianna Fáil TD Eugene Murphy told the Roscommon People that he had pressed the issue of ‘just transition’ with the Minister.
“While we all acknowledge that change will come, it’s fair to say we are in a spin due to the manner in which this matter has developed. We cannot allow those jobs to drift from our locality and we have a serious challenge ahead,” he said.
Deputy Murphy said he had informed Minister Bruton that seasonal workers were left in a “desperate situation” and that in some situations the income that had been lost had been used to subsidise small family farms and to help pay for children’s educational needs ahead of the new academic term in September.
Deputy Murphy added that Deputy Naughten, Deputy Fitzmaurice and Senator Hopkins had also expressed strong concerns about recent developments and had also warned about the urgency of the ongoing situation.