Tuesday, 8 October 2019
Budget 2020: Statements
I thank Senator Byrne for allowing me a couple of minutes of her time. I agree with her analysis of the emergency department at University Hospital Limerick, UHL, and I hope there may be extra activity to deal with the immediate issue of the trolley crisis when we get further detail.
I welcome the announcement of a fund to facilitate a just transition, coinciding with the carbon tax. The midlands was singled out for mention in terms of funding and alternatives for the thousands of people whose livelihoods depended on the peat industry. I am disappointed, however, that there was no mention of the imminent changes to the work of Moneypoint, which will have a profound impact on the entire west Clare economy and community. Hundreds of families are directly and indirectly independent on income from Moneypoint. West Clare has benefited for decades from Moneypoint, so the just transition fund has to include that facility. The ESB, the significant stakeholder in the plant, has a duty of care to it and to clarify what its role is going to be in just transition. I ask the Minister of State to address this, though I accept he may not be in an immediate position to do so. I hope he can articulate my concerns and those of the people of Clare, and west Clare in particular, to the Minister with responsibility for dealing with climate change and for managing the just transition fund. People need certainty on the issue.
Overall, the budget is very well crafted, taking into consideration the many uncertainties we are facing as a result of what is happening overseas, which is out of our control.