Sinn Féin Rural Affairs TD Brian Stanley has criticised the Government’s 2020 budget for failing to adequately finance its ‘Just Transition’ programme for Bord na Mona.
Despite an increase in carbon tax by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, which will bring in around €550m next year, a miserly €6m has been allocated to a Just Transition programme.
Speaking this afternoon, Deputy Stanley said:
“Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil’s budget has failed to adequately address the need for a Just Transition plan for Bord na Móna and the Midlands.
“Despite the fact that this Government has taken the cruel decision to increase the carbon tax by an additional €6 to a total of €26 per tonne, only a fraction of this will be re-invested in areas affected by climate action.
“We all accept that Bord na Móna must transition away from peat, but if we are serious about climate action then we must put in place a transition for the workers and the local communities.
“Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil promised a Just Transition programme but what they have delivered falls well short of anything substantial.
“The carbon tax is expected to bring in around €550m next year and yet only €6m has been allocated for a Bord na Móna transition plan.
“This serves to highlight the fact that neither Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil are truly serious about climate action.
“What we should be doing is transition workers in Bord na Móna from brown jobs in peat, to green job in clean energy like biomass, biogas, solar and other renewable energy industries.
“The Government has also allocated a miserly €6m for Bog rehabilitation.
“These bogs could serve as carbon sinks, for tourism, educational purposes and horticulture. €6m just won’t cut it.
“This Governments budget represents little nothing more than a drop in the ocean when it comes to the financial investment which is needed and deserved in the midlands.”