Fine Gael show 'complete lack of urgency' in midlands over peat says Fianna Fáil

Conor Ganly

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Conor Ganly

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Laois Offaly Fianna Fáil candidates lodge applications

Laois Offaly Fianna Fáil election team Sean Fleming, Barry Cowen, Pauline Flanagan, Peter Ormond with campaign organisers Pat Moylan and John Moloney.

Fianna Fáil candidates in the constituency to be worst hit by the demise of peat production and peat-fuelled power stations have insisted the future of impacted workers is a "top priority" with one attacking Fine Gael over its "lack of urgency" in responding so far.

General election candidates in Laois-Offaly, Barry Cowen TD and Cllr Peter Ormond have said their party will protect the employees of Bord na Móna and ESB.

While Fine Gael has hit out at other parties who bark rather than have a just transition plan, Fianna Fáil candidates claimed the Government is not acting fast enough to mitigate some of the damage the wind downs could cause.

“The outgoing Fine Gael-led government have demonstrated a complete lack of urgency to help the employees, families and communities affected by the proposed closure of the ESB power stations in Lanesboro and Shannonbridge, and the further risk to hundreds of jobs at Bord na Móna," said Mr Cowen.

 “These are people’s livelihoods at stake, not to speak of the future of this economy of the Midlands.  And yet, the consequences have seemed like an afterthought to the outgoing government.  The speed at with which this is happening is completely disproportionate to any proposed investment in the region,” the Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Public Expenditure said.

Cllr Peter Ormond is Cathaoirleach of Offaly County Council and Chairman of the Just Transition Committee.

“We have been very vocal in our support for the Bord na Móna workers and their families at a time when many have felt abandoned by the Fine Gael Government.  Protecting jobs in a sustainable way is an absolute priority for us.  The constituency of Laois-Offaly faces unique challenges with such a huge proportion of our workforce employed by Bord na Mona and ESB, and this must be given special consideration. 

“The eyes of future generations are upon us. Our policies must focus on protecting and growing job opportunities here in Offaly, attracting investment to this region and maximising existing resources in a way that rewards local enterprise and innovation.

“Fianna Fáil is committed to social proofing our environmental policies. We are committed to this region and protecting jobs here.  A Just Transition must be exactly that – one that is fair to all regions.  There are special considerations in the Midlands and we are committed to ensuring the views of this community are represented in ongoing policies in this area,” concluded the press statement