Speaking ahead of a meeting with the Minister for Communications, Climate Action, and Environment to raise the case of the many Bord Na Mona and ESB workers based in the Midlands, Fianna Fáil TD for Offaly, Barry Cowen says the Minister must give a lengthy transition period to employees.

He commented, “Bord Na Mona and the ESB was, and remains the lifeblood of Offaly.  Despite technological advancements and various changes in work practices, they still contribute massively to its heartbeat. 

“They have been the foundation that built homes, villages and towns across the county, ensured livelihoods, maintained culture, engendered success in education, attainment and sport – even Shane Lowrys grandfather came back from England to take up a job in Ferbane power station.  

“The Taoiseach and his government’s rush to wipe that from history and now, throw it all off a cliff edge won’t wash with me and certainly won’t rest well with voters across the midlands.  When meeting Richard Bruton this week, my Fianna Fáil colleagues and I will be insisting that government policy be brought in line with Bord Na Mona’s so as this can be successfully appealed via the courts. 

“The region needs and deserves time and a reasonable transition period of years rather than months as indicated last week by the Taoiseach.  Parallel to that we’ll continue to insist and raise in budget talks that carbon tax revenue be targeted at the likes of our county and region, where transition forums can be funded and duly reward and promote tangible alternatives.

“Leadership demands that people are brought with and through change. We in the Midlands won’t be either pushed over a cliff or dragged by rope kicking and screaming. The government need to be more proactive and engage in dialogue with stakeholders. This should be done immediately,” concluded Deputy Cowen.