Sinn Féin spokesperson for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment David Cullinane TD today slammed the government and ESB for broken promises to workers and their communities in the midlands, adding that a just transition plan must be put in place before the closure of Lough Ree and West Offaly power stations at the end of next year.
Deputy Cullinane said:
“The news that the ESB is to close two power stations in the midlands without any alternative arrangements in place is nothing short of a betrayal of the workers and their local communities.
“Both the ESB and the government promised that alternative measures and a just transition would be in place before any decision to close would be taken.
“That, it appears, is now off the table, delivering a devastating blow to the 80 ESB workers affected and the 1,000 Bord na Móna workers who rely in no small measure on the plants.
“The government must convene a Just Transition Task Force as a matter of urgency.
“This must be based on dialogue with trade unions and other stakeholders.
“This task force must negotiate a fair deal for workers and their communities and ensure an orderly and fair exit from peat.
“The people of the midlands need to be part of that transition.
“By his actions so far, it is clear that the Minister is interested only in importing fracked gas for private profit, instead of working to protect the communities most affected by the move to environmental sustainability.”