Wednesday, 20 May 2020
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
Just Transition Commissioner
920. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the supports in place to support the Just Transition Commissioner; his views on whether they are appropriate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5541/20]
926. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when he received the Mulvey Report on the just transition strategy; the reason for not publishing it to date; if it will be published immediately; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5886/20]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 920 and 926 together.
The Government has appointed Mr Kieran Mulvey as the Just Transition Commissioner on a non-statutory basis to facilitate discussions and work with stakeholders to develop, mobilise and deliver opportunities for the Midlands for both the workers directly affected and the wider community. I have asked the commissioner to engage with all relevant stakeholders, including local community organisations, Bord na Móna, ESB, the Midlands Transition Team, Local Authorities, public representatives, and relevant trade unions and workers' representatives.
The Commissioner will report to Government through me and I have asked him to consider specifically a number of matters in framing his recommendations including: the delivery of the just transition measures provided for in budget 2020; the optimal structures or processes to support co-ordinated and effective delivery, including developing liaison channels between institutions in the region and central Government; the implementation of other actions underway, or planned, by Departments and Agencies that could assist in the just transition; and any additional actions or measures that he considers appropriate for Government consideration. The Commissioner has also been invited to take account of relevant existing plans and programmes such as the Regional Enterprise Plan for the Midlands.
I received the Commissioner's first progress report at the end of April and, following its consideration by relevant Government Departments, I intend to bring this report to Government and to publish it shortly.
The Commissioner is undertaking his work on a part time basis, with administrative support provided by my Department. The Commissioner is also being supported in his engagements with stakeholders in the Midlands, as required, by the secretariat to the existing Midlands Regional Transition Team. I intend to further consider these arrangements in the context of the envisaged ongoing role for the Commissioner in relation to just transition in the Midlands.
The Government has committed significant resources in 2020, through allocating a portion of the additional carbon tax revenue to be raised on foot of Budget 2020, to measures to support the delivery of an effective just transition for the Midlands. This includes €20 million for a new energy efficiency retrofitting scheme to be focused on the Midlands, €5 million for peatland rehabilitation outside of the Bord na Móna estate, and €6 million for a dedicated new just transition fund (with a further €5m coming from ESB in 2020). The Government is also seeking to bring forward appropriate measures to support a much higher level of bog restoration on Bord na Móna bogs and to provide for a continued role for existing Bord na Móna workers on these bogs.