Fianna Fáil TD for Roscommon-Galway, Eugene Murphy, has said the decision made by an Bord Pleanála to refuse planning permission for the redevelopment of an ESB power station to co-fuel the Shannonbride power station with biomass must be appealed.

Deputy Murphy said the decision is another massive blow to Bord na Móna and ESB workers across the midlands who have seen their livelihoods decimated bit by bit in what is fast turning out to be a summer of discontent.

He said, “We have known for a long time that Bord na Móna will be diversifying over the coming years, but there must be time to transition. You can’t shut up shop on an entire industry which has provided employment for successive generations without first putting in place tangible alternatives and safeguarding the local economy.

 “I attended the protest by workers in Lanesboro yesterday to lend my support to those who have been let go by the swift changes. Hundreds turned out to protest-there is much anger. People feel hard done by with such little consultation and massive changes taking place almost overnight.

“The Government have been very lethargic in dealing with the matter. They dragged their heels on establishing a transition forum and the delay in their application for EU funding was nothing short of disgraceful. The existing carbon tax, which they use to prop up their balance sheet, is not reinvested into the areas impacted hardest.

“At the end of the day, the speed at which plants are closing and jobs are being lost is completely disproportionate to any investment in the region and the midlands will be left behind. I am calling on the ESB to immediately appeal the decision”, he concluded