Written answers

Thursday, 24 October 2019

Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment

Just Transition Fund

Photo of Fiona O'LoughlinFiona O'Loughlin (Kildare South, Fianna Fail)
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210. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the steps he is taking to ensure a just transition in Bord na Móna in view of further concerns regarding the future of 2,000 jobs expressed by the group of unions following a meeting with management at the end of September 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43932/19]

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Dublin Bay North, Fine Gael)
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Ireland’s necessary transition away from carbon-intensive sources of energy, towards more sustainable, renewable energy sources, will have a significant impact on the workers in these carbon-intensive sectors, their families, and the Midlands as a whole. Government has committed to delivering a whole of Government approach, and to working with local stakeholders, to ensuring that a just transition is provided to those impacted by the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Further details of this comprehensive whole of Government response to support the region through the transition will be announced shortly. Budget 2020 includes a number of measures that form part of this response. These include:

- €6 million for a Just Transition Fund;

- €5 million for bog restoration and rehabilitation; and

- €20 million to deliver a new model to group housing upgrades.

The Just Transition Fund will be initially targeted at the Midlands and will support retraining and reskilling workers and assist local communities and businesses in the Midlands to adjust to the low carbon transition. There will be further engagement with local stakeholders, including the Midlands Transition Team, on the application of the funding.

The bog restoration and rehabilitation fund will support the National Parks and Wildlife Service to restore to their natural habitat 1,800 hectares of bog. This restoration will return these bogs to carbon sinks once more, which, over the next 5 years, will result in 28 million tonnes of carbon being stored. 70 jobs will be created in Year One, rising to 100 as the programme develops.

The delivery of a new model to group housing upgrades together is set out in the Climate Action Plan. The €20m allocated in the budget will be targeted at the Midlands and will support an estimated 400 jobs directly and indirectly, as well as significantly upgrading the social housing stock in the region during 2020.

I have also announced that a Just Transition Commissioner will be appointed. This Commissioner will engage with all relevant stakeholders in the Midlands, including Bord na Móna, the Midland Regional Transition Team, Trade Unions as well as the National Economic and Social Council (NESC). This appointment will be part of the Government’s Just Transition Plan, which is currently being led by the Department of An Taoiseach. Further details on this role will be provided as part of an announcement on the All-of-Government response to support the Midlands region through the transition.


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