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Dublin: 13°C Tuesday 24 November 2020

'Fear of being abandoned': Bord na Móna workers hold rally in Shannonbridge

Trade unions said that there was a “fear and anxiety” among workers that good quality replacement jobs wouldn’t be provided.

Image: ICTU/Twitter

TRADE UNIONS HAVE organised a march for its Bord na Móna members over concerns that jobs to replace peat-harvesting roles won’t happen, as has been promised.

The State-owned company has agreed to embark on a programme of rehabilitation of bogs in the Midlands; promising to completely stop harvesting peat by 2030.

As part of this process, 400 people have left the company through a redundancy offer; in October, Bord na Móna announced a redeployment offer for up to 200 workers.

The rally has been organised by Bord na Móna workers and pensioners in protest against the government, accusing it of a “failure to deliver a just transition” for the affected workers and communities across the Midlands.

Congress General Secretary Patricia King said that this had created a “fear and anxiety” across the Midlands, as these jobs result in a certain amount of investment for the area.

“To date, government has borrowed the language of ‘just transition’ but failed utterly to deliver on the substance.

She continued: “The workers and communities had already signed up to the transition to a low-carbon economy, but made it clear it had to happen in a fair manner and that workers and communities would not be left behind.

That means creating good quality replacement jobs and opportunities to make up for those being lost in peat production. That means investing in areas like retrofitting and renewable energy production in order to address that jobs shortfall and to assist with the country’s overall shift to a low-carbon economy.

“To date that has not happened,” she said, “and workers in the Midlands rightly fear their region being abandoned in the years to come.” 

Speaking to TheJournal.ie as part of a climate crisis series, Paddy Phelan said that another big employer would be needed to replace Bord na Móna:

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“You want something to come into the midlands and these areas that will employ 500 or 600 people at a time. Now what it is I don’t know.”

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