06 Jul 2022

Laois Offaly 'Waiting for Godot' as plan to tap into €84 million not done

'Beggars belief' says Laois Offaly TD

Laois Offaly 'Waiting for Godot' as plan to tap into €84 million not done

Actors in the famous Samuel Beckett play are like the people of the Midlands waiting on Eamon Ryan to deliver his plan

It almost beggar’s belief that Ireland has not completed a territorial just transition plan and accompanying programme to €84.5 from the EU Just Transition Fund, according to Independent TD for Laois-Offaly Carol Nolan who compared the delay to a famous Samuel Beckett play.

Deputy Nolan was speaking after the Minister the Environment, Eamon Ryan, confirmed that work on the draft plan remains incomplete in his Department, despite informing her in July that the plan would be ready for public consultation this Autumn.

“It is completely unacceptable that Government and in particular, Minister Ryan’s department have yet to formulate the draft plan.

"We have to remember that I was told as far back as June 2020 by the former Minister for the Environment, Richard Bruton, that ‘work was underway’ in developing the plan that would enable us to access €84 million from the EU Just Transition Fund.

"Since then, and this was also confirmed to me in July by Minister Eamon Ryan, his Department has been supported to develop the Territorial Plan through technical assistance under the European Commission’s Structural Reform Support Programme," she said.

Dep Nolan said consultants were also selected by the Commission to assist in developing an evidence base to inform the selection of investment priorities for inclusion in the Territorial Plan and they had extensive engagements with national and regional stakeholders to inform their work.

She said these included the Just Transition Commissioner, the Midlands Regional Transition Team, Local Authorities, Regional Assemblies, ICTU, BnM, ESB, relevant Government Departments, NESC, IDA, Enterprise Ireland, Solas and the Education and Training Boards. 

Despite all of this engagement, we are now told by Minister Ryan that he only intends to launch a public consultation “before the end of the year to inform the further development and finalisation of the plan during the course of 2022.”

"At this rate our communities in Offaly, Laois, and beyond who desperately need funding, might as well be Waiting for Godot,” concluded Deputy Nolan.

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