I am today calling on Minister Dennis Naughten to indicate what plans he has to regularise the planning situation with regard to the Bord na Mona power plants in Edenderry Lanesboro and Shannonbridge. The recent High Court decision is only a temporary measure that allows the plants to continue in operation in their ongoing dispute with An Taisce and emergency legislation is what is needed to allow these plants to continue in operation. There are hundreds of jobs at stake and the Minister must make an urgent statement on the matter so that workers know what the future is for their employment.
As we know Bord na Mona will be scaling down it’s peat production over the next 10 to 15 years but we need an immediate statement on this issue and I will be pressing the Minister to know what he and his department are doing to address the situation with the planning situation and these power plants as soon as possible. I note that the Minister has said at the weekend that he is developing a package wherby farmers will be incentivised to grow willow and eucalyptus so as the biomass supplies to power stations can be increased and I welcome that.
I am also calling on Bord na Mona not to outsource the haulage of peat to private contractors as planned. The drivers concerned would be relocated to work elsewhere on the bogs and that would have a knock on effect on seasonal workers and that situation is unacceptable.