Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Wednesday, 20 November 2019
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action
Supporting a Just Transition: Discussion (Resumed)
There has been no just transition for the workers in County Laois. It is obvious that County Offaly will be heavily affected. It is right that there is no dispute about its status as the most impacted county. We need to continue to push the case for the protection of communities and workers in County Offaly because of the high concentration of Bord na Móna workers in the county. There has been no just transition. I know workers in County Laois who worked full-time in Coolnamona fadó fadó. They now have temporary contracts in Kilberry. Mr. Noone will be familiar with these cases. I am flagging this up with the witnesses because I have argued for County Laois workers to be brought into the loop. The Coolnamona plant has not been fully wound down. It is being decommissioned, but there has not been a whisper about it. I have tried to raise it with successive Bord na Móna managers. The unions are fighting a hard battle on this matter. I hope we can approach it collectively. Do the witnesses have any views on it?
I would also like to ask about the quality of the jobs that will be available to workers as they transition into new industries in areas such as retrofitting and recycling, or in the important area of bog rehabilitation.
Bog rehabilitation is important and Bord na Móna will tender for much of that work. What are the witnesses' views on that because the companies tendering alongside Bord na Móna will not be unionised? That is part of the problem being encountered. How can that be resolved?
My other question concerns the Spanish case. In her introduction, Ms King said the European globalisation fund cannot be used to provide finance, but can be used for technical assistance with a just transition. Can other sources of funding be availed of at EU level? The public service obligation, PSO, levy could be part of this process, but I am wondering about other possible sources of funding. Did Spanish miners employees and employers participate fully in the forum that was set up there? It seems to be similar to the forum on just transition we are discussing for Ireland.