Help at hand for Bord na Mona employees in Longford

Government to apply to to the EU Globalisation Fund to help Bord na Mona employees transition to new work

Liam Cosgrove

Reporter:

Liam Cosgrove

Email:

liam.cosgrove@longfordleader.ie

Bord na Mona

The Government has confirmed that it intends to apply to the EU Globalisation Fund to help affected Bord na Móna workers to transition into new employment.

The Government has confirmed that it intends to apply to the EU Globalisation Fund to help affected Bord na Móna workers to transition into new employment.

The news came after the announcement of up to 430 redundancies in the company last week.

Longford Westmeath Fine Fáil TD Peter Burke welcomed the announcement by Independent MEP Marian Harkin last week, stating that the full support of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment would be needed going forward.

“I emphasised to the Minister (Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton) the need to ensure the best possible redundancy package for those staff who are considering that option,” he said.

“I believe this package needs to be on a par with recent packages in other state companies such as RTÉ and An Post.
“I also stressed to the Minister the need for the full support of his department for Bord na Móna as they look ahead to aim to become the largest renewables company in the country.

In this regard, I believe part of the €150 million Climate Action Fund could be used to assist Bord na Móna utilise the assets they have, including their dedicated and experienced work force and their large land banks.

“I will continue to assist those affected and my thoughts are with the employees and their families at this difficult time.
“Bord na Mona has pledged to engage in extensive consultation with workers in the coming weeks, which will include a series of town hall meetings,” the Fine Gael TD said.

In light of the jobs loss announcement, Fianna Fáil General Election Candidate, Cllr Joe Flaherty, is calling on Longford Co Council to establish a high level transition forum that will focus on future plans for Bord na Mona facilities and assets in the region.
“While a small number of Co Longford based workers are likely to be affected in this round of redundancies, I believe that Longford Co Council and the full resources of the State must come together to formulate a plan for the future of the county’s 195 Bord na Mona workers,” said Cllr Flaherty.

“Bord na Mona was a major catalyst in the economic growth and development of Longford. It was a visionary company and it brought workers from the four corners of Ireland to live and work here and they in turn built communities in Lanesboro and the surrounding areas.

“Having grown up in the heart of the Bord na Mona country, I’ve seen the impact of the company locally,” he continued.
“The ambitious house building programme of the fifties stands in stark contrast to the current government’s feeble efforts.
“Bord na Mona built communities and homes and from those houses then came the Gardaí, teachers, chefs, innovators and creative forces that we now know and celebrate today.

“Now it is vital that Longford positions itself to ensure that the county and more importantly, the 195 workers are protected and can benefit from the next phase.

I know plans are underway for a similar Forum in Offaly and I think it’s vital all stakeholders come together to leverage the best possible supports for the affected workers.”

Lough Ree Power Plant in Lanesboro is currently paying €20 per tonne of peat burned under the EU Emission Trading System (ETS).

Cllr Flaherty is adamant that a portion if this money needs to be ring-fenced for the affected Bord na Mona communities and contends that there are a number of investment and support channels which need to be pursued.
“I believe that the Midlands region makes a compelling case for access to the European Globalisation Fund (EGF) for the Bord na Mona workers,” he said.

“The EGF assists EU member states to support workers made redundant as a result of the adverse impacts of globalisation, by providing 60% co-financing for approved active labour market programmes of guidance, training, education and enterprise supports.

“We need to be positioned to feed into a regional Sustainable Transition Forum which will co-ordinate plans with the other affected counties. This is about getting the best possible outcome for the 195 Longford workers and the wider community.”

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