Fianna Fáil TD for Offaly, Barry Cowen, has called on the Government to immediately provide additional monies to the Just Transition Fund in response to the recently announced closure of Lough Ree and Shannonbridge Power Stations.
Deputy Cowen said it was totally unreasonable to expect the €6 million Just Transition Fund to cover the closure of Power Stations in the midlands, in particular when Offaly County Council will now be at loss of €3 million in rates which were generated by Shannonbridge alone.
Deputy Cowen said, “I acknowledge that the ESB have committed €5 million to this fund but this will not cover the losses. The Government needs to increase the fund, which was only secured through Fianna Fáil in the first place.
“It’s important to remember with today’s announcement that livelihoods will be lost. While we were all aware that change was coming it was never envisaged that it would be this quick or this brutal.
“The Government have failed to commit to their own plan of phasing out peat burning. It was their plan and their timeline that Shannonbridge transition to biomass. It was up to them to challenge the refusal of planning permission, but they didn’t.
“My thoughts are with the workers and their families who are facing a very uncertain future. Understandably they have very little confidence in this Government’s commitment to the region. It’s up to the Government to provide alternatives”, he concluded.