Fianna Fáil TD for Kildare South Fiona O’Loughlin has warned the Government that it must not abandon Bord na Móna workers as the semi-State company enters into a restructuring process.

Deputy O’Loughlin made the comments after it was announced that the company is to exit the coal business and cease production of convenient products such as fire packs and fire-logs.

Deputy O’Loughlin said, “Bord na Móna is a significant employer in Kildare, especially given the fact that its headquarters is based in Newbridge. I’ve been informed that 11 jobs will be impacted on by the recently announced changes, but overall there are 450 workers based in Kildare. It’s of vital importance that these workers are not forgotten about during this restructuring process.

“Every effort needs to be made to redeploy staff to new roles if it is necessary to do so. Everyone recognises the need for Bord na Móna to diversify into new renewable energy technologies in order to continue expanding in the years ahead. However this can only be achieved if the Government provides the support that is necessary to help the company break into new markets such as biomass energy.

“I’ve raised this issue in the Dáil on a number of occasions with the Government and I will continue to do so. Bord na Móna is a significant contributor to the local economy in Kildare. The Government can’t just turn its back on the company. We need to see a plan of action by Government for ensuring that the company can continue its proud tradition of employment here in Kildare,” concluded Deputy O’Loughlin.