Written answers

Thursday, 21 March 2024

Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment

Just Transition

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Dublin Bay North, Fine Gael)
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136. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the projects which have been funded to date from the Just Transition Fund in County Offaly; their scope and planned impact; the number of applications from the county; and their current status. [13544/24]

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Dublin Bay North, Fine Gael)
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137. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he has reviewed the operation of the Just Transition Fund to date; the lessons which have been learnt; when it is intended to establish a Statutory Commission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13545/24]

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin Bay South, Green Party)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 136 and 137 together.

The Government is committed to a just transition in order to ensure that nobody is left behind as we work to transition to a climate neutral economy by no later than 2050. In respect of the Midlands, the Government continues to support workers, companies and communities affected by the closure of the peat-fired power stations and the ending of peat extraction by Bord na Móna through both the National and EU Just Transition Funds.

The National Just Transition Fund, established in 2020, funds local and community-led projects, which are implementing innovative plans to support the transition to a low carbon economy across a range of activities. The Fund will provide up to €22 million in grant assistance to supported projects until the end of 2024. For this reason, it is envisaged that an ex-post review of the operation of the Fund will commence during 2024. Details of all projects being supported, and grant amounts awarded, are published on my Department's website at www.gov.ie/en/publication/ed10d-just-transition-fund/.

The National Just Transition Fund is supporting 19 projects with addresses in Offaly. Five of these projects have been completed, 13 remain in delivery and one was withdrawn by the project sponsor without receiving any funding. Projects are being implemented across a range of activities, including regional development, green energy, tourism, conservation, regeneration and retrofitting of buildings, education, food research, and business development. The following table sets out an overview of the grant funding provided to these projects.

Total cost of projects with addresses in Offaly €9,293,724
Total National JTF awarded €7,424,162
Total National JTF drawn down to date €3,712,403
Percentage of funding drawn down to date 50%

In relation to Ireland's EU Just Transition Fund Programme, details of grant awards under individual funding calls will be made available as they are announced through the website of the Programme's Managing Authority at emra.ie/eu-jtf/.

Separately, the Climate Action Plan 2023 committed the Government to the establishment a Just Transition Commission to provide advice to Government on how to ensure a just transition.

In September 2023, I convened a Just Transition Taskforce to make recommendations on the establishment of a Just Transition Commission, in line with the proposed mandate set out in Climate Action Plan 2023. The Taskforce comprised representatives of the key social dialogue pillars (employers, trade unions, farming groups, social NGOs, and environmental NGOs), as well as the National Economic and Social Council and relevant Government Departments.

The work of the Just Transition Taskforce has now concluded and I am considering its final report. It is my intention to move quickly to have the Taskforce's report and recommendations considered by Government with a view to establishing a Just Transition Commission at an early opportunity.


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