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Derrinlough briquette factory Alamy Stock Photo

Future of Derrinlough factory unclear as Bord na Móna says it's exploring options for the site

The briquette factory closed on 1 June and a subsequent ad for its sale has been taken down.

BORD NA MONA has said it is “reviewing a range of options” for the Derrinlough briquette factory in Co Offaly, after it published an advertisement for the sale of the site which has since been taken down.

The factory closed on 1 June and the 44.5-acre site was put up for sale on 25 July, but the ad has since been removed.

A Bord na Móna spokesperson said: “Bord na Móna launched its Brown to Green Strategy in 2019 to facilitate its transition from a traditional peat harvesting business to a renewable energy and climate solutions company in line with Ireland’s climate ambitions.

“This strategy provided for the cessation of all peat activities including the closure of Derrinlough briquette factory.

“Bord na Móna has engaged with the group of unions on an ongoing basis about its factory closure plans and confirmed that it would be exploring alternative options for the use of the site post-closure – which would generate employment opportunities for the area.

“Bord na Móna is committed to reviewing a range of potential options for the site in line with its original plans and is engaging with a variety of stakeholders on this.”

In an email to Bord na Móna CEO Tom Donnellan and Environment Minister Eamon Ryan, Laois-Offaly TD Barry Cowen said it was his understanding that “there would be provision made at this site for an interpretive centre/museum chronicling the history of BnM in the region.

“This is a concept that has much public support,” Cowen wrote. “It would also have the support of local representatives and local authority who together with relevant stakeholders looked forward to advancing this concept and making it a reality.”

“I appreciate a semi-state body such as Bord na Móna like any other has a duty to return annual dividends to Government. However it also has a social duty.”

Cowen asked Bord na Móna to make the sale of the site conditional. He said a regeneration of the site should include funding for the museum and planning permission for job-creating enterprises on the site.

Speaking to The Journal, Cowen said: “There’s no issue with their remit for a return on the state’s investment but they also have social responsibilties and straying from that is a dangerous precedent.”

“You’d think they’d have a bit more regard for the community.

“There’s no centre in the region to chronicle the historical significance and impact that Bord na Móna had on the country and on this region and that needs to be provided for at this location.”

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