Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice has cited the climate agenda being driven by the EU and the Irish Government as a major factor is currently destroying rural Ireland.

He made the comments this evening (Tuesday, July 16th) following a meeting with ESB representatives in Dublin to discuss the situation with the power plant in Lanesboro, Co. Longford, and the relationship with Bord na Mona.

Speaking on the matter, he said: “Over the last year, we have had several Government representatives coming out and talking about the transition of Bord na Mona workers.

“Following today’s meeting with ESB, given the new tendering process for electricity coming into play from next year on and what the ESB has to pay for carbon credits on the world market – as long as carbon credits remain at their current rate – it is clear that the rate at which electricity is produced through the burning of peat will be massively reduced.

“I think it has been very disingenuous of Government ministers coming out over the last or 18 months and talking about adjustment periods and bringing in alternatives, when the real fact is that there seems to be little or no future for workers on the bog with Bord na Mona – other than to be reinstating them.

“This is a massive U-turn and disappointment for areas in rural parts of the country where there is not a lot of job options. The reality of it is that Shannonbridge, Moneypoint and Lanesboro – from what we have been told today – will basically be only used as a back up and the volumes of peat required will not be anywhere near what was being used.

“On top of that, biomass is now being touted as a solution. So, for the next few years at least, biomass will have to be brought in from countries located around the globe – all in the name of saving the planet.”

A Time for honesty

Fitzmaurice also noted that no guarantees would be given by the ESB representatives at today’s meeting in relation to the quantities of peats that would be used in its power plants over the next 6 to 7 years.

Continuing, he added: “How can a company, such as Bord na Mona, survive on that into the future economically; I do not understand.

“I think a time for honesty is required now, because I think a lot of stuff has been portrayed as mutton dressed up as lamb. It has been very disingenuous to the employees who have given years of service to the company.

“In the long term, there seems to be no plan going forward. Our country appears to be happier now to bring in biomass from a foreign land, pay for it there and get subsidised on it – rather than burning our own raw materials and keeping jobs in rural parts of the country.

“This is the scale of what Ireland has signed up to in successive Governments – a dependence on imports, money going out of the country and less jobs in rural areas.

“If you take the subsidies away supporting the burning of biomass or the erection of wind turbines, those projects do not make economic sense.

“But this is the road we are going down now because of what we signed up to in the past. We have to realise that there a lot of families relying on these jobs to put food on the table in those areas.”

In relation to the redundancy package, Fitzmaurice also indicated that if the Bord na Mona workers who previously decided to stay until 2027 had been present at today’s meeting then they would not have decided to stay on.

‘Spare wheel’

Concluding, he said: “From what I understand, from next year on, those type of generation stations will only be used as a back up to other forms of electricity generation – similar to a spare wheel in a car.

“I intend to investigate how much money, through subsidies, go into wind energy and other methods of producing energy which do not make economic sense – because the end result will be that the public will have to pay for this fantasy world.

“It is imperative that supports are put in place, particularly in the Galway and Roscommon areas, for workers who will no longer be in Bord na Mona – with a special focus being placed on attracting other employers and businesses to the areas.

“As it stands, there is no plan other than redundancy. This is a disgraceful situation for the people and families that have served the company down through the years,” he concluded.

Michael Fitzmaurice TD – 0861914565

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