Fianna Fáil TD for Longford-Westmeath, Robert Troy has said that the 150 lay-offs at the Bord na Móna plant at Mount Dillon, in county Longford will have a devastating impact on workers, their families and the local economy. Deputy Troy said all available supports need to be put in place to assist the workers.

His comments come following confirmation that 78 lay-off’s will take immediate effect and a further 70 from next Thursday. This is a result of the suspension of operations at the Lough Ree Power Plant in Lanesborough after concerns were raised over hot water discharges into the River Shannon nearby.

Deputy Troy said “While it is well known that Bord na Móna have plans to diversify their operations all across the midlands over the next decade this will still come as a blow to the workers and their families. Successive generations of Longford families have earned a good livelihood from Bord na Móna. It is only right that Bord na Móna are given the time they need to make the transition.

“It must be noted that the ESB have been very complacent in allowing this problem to manifest. The situation of the cooling water discharge temperature is more or less the same since the plant was commissioned in 2004. It is a technical breach of the ESB licence but they haven’t addressed the concerns and now the EPA have stepped in.

“As always it is the families who are paying the price. No one can deny that the transition is happening and that we are moving away from fuel burning which is only right but this cannot happen overnight. A transition fund needs to be put in place and the livelihoods of the people in the area need to be protected”, he concluded.