Media reports from aggrieved workers at Bord na Mona’s (BNM’s) peat briquette factory in Derrinlough is further justification that Minister Eamon Ryan needs to make rapid decisions to ensure a so-called just transition, according to independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice.

Reacting to the RTE report from earlier this week, the representative for the Roscommon-Galway constituency said: “It is widely known that foreign imports are coming into this country to replace briquettes and unfortunately the Greens have confirmed in the Dail that they are aware of the imports.

“But it seems as if the Greens are partaking in a box ticking exercise and as long as we are not making them here in Ireland, then they are prepared not to take any notice of the imports.

“My understanding is, contrary to the usual spin from BNM, that certain customers for peat briquettes were looked after over the Christmas period by BNM and others were left in the cold.

“From the fuel merchants we spoke to, they were left waiting for peat briquettes that were badly needed in a lot of areas around the country. This isn’t the way you should do business.

“If a supplier, even if they are on a small scale, has been dealing with you for years then you should repay that loyalty and ensure you have adequate supplies in stock to fulfil orders.

“It just goes to show the need for peat briquettes around the country and the absolute lunacy of even considering closing the Derrinlough plant in 2024.

“From the reports this week, the price of briquettes are going up and one of the main reasons is – as everybody knows – the carbon tax increase in the coming weeks. This is going to put a further burden on low-income families trying to keep heat in their homes.

“The BNM workers in Derrinlough should realise that in the county that they are in, most of the TDs and Senators voted in favour of the carbon tax, including representatives from the Green Party, Fianna Fail and Fine Gael.

“They voted in favour of the carbon tax and its incremental increases over the coming years.

“Simultaneously, some of these representatives were speaking out of the other sides of their mouths by saying they support factory workers.

“I would encourage the workers to lobby the TDs in their area to see where do they stand now. They have pressed the button to support the carbon tax, and still they talk about saving jobs.

“It is a ludicrous situation that we are importing peat briquettes, moss peat and milled peat from Germany, Estonia and some of the other Baltic countries – while we have an abundance of it here and not utilising it.

“People need to realise the agenda being driven and the path we are being brought down in the name of climate will cost countless jobs and decimate communities. Those living in the midlands will see their loved ones being forced to move to Dublin or emigrate further afield for work if there isn’t a sea change in Government policy.

“Minister Ryan, now more than ever, needs to pick up the phone to the likes of Kieran Mulvey to ensure a just transition is delivered and not an abandonment of the midlands area,” he concluded.

For further information contact Michael Fitzmaurice at 086-1914565 

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