The indifference shown by this Government to the loss of jobs in rural Ireland, particularly when it comes to Bord na Mona, in the budget announcement has been slammed by independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice.

He was critical of the measures that were revealed by the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, in yesterday’s announcement – believing they did not go far enough.

Reacting to the measures revealed, Fitzmaurice said: “Yesterday’s announcement on Bord na Mona and the midlands is an act of economic fraud.

“While it is billed as an increase of 250%, €5 million for bog rehabilitation is little more than tokenism. It is also difficult to see where jobs will be created through the €20 million energy efficiency scheme targeted at homes in the region.

“€6 million has been put aside for Just Transition Fund, with local communities to have a key say in how it is spent. But will this cover every region impacted by the job closures?”

Major Package

“The least we expected from the Budget 2020 announcement was a major package to rescue and redevelop Bord na Mona.

“Instead, it has been cast aside and expected to quietly close each of its plants – after having supported thousands of families in the midlands in recent decades.

“This Government has failed to come up with a comprehensive, joined-up plan to save jobs that were meant to remain in place until at least 2027.

“Under this Fine Gael led Government, jobs outside the capital do not hold the same weight as those inside the M50.

“If Bord na Mona was a new fashionable digital company, there would be ministers and the Taoiseach racing down to offer assurances and to hold hands.

“This Government appears to be incapable of understanding that rural, blue-collar jobs are important too.

“Their failure to chart a new direction will not be forgotten. Yesterday’s announcement is a political con-job designed to give cover to frightened Fine Gael backbenchers and isolated Independent Alliance ministers.

“It promises to deliver between 400 and 500 jobs, where in fact in the region of 2,000 are needed. The people of the Midlands will not forget,” Fitzmaurice concluded.

 

For further information contact Michael Fitzmaurice on: 086-1914565

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