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Bord na Móna

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Bord na Móna

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Environment\Bord na Móna, issues relating to

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Snippet Contents:

I thank the Minister of State for his response. I had hoped the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment who has an oversight role relating to Bord na Móna among other semi-States, would be present to deal with the matter but I take it his Department felt it was more appropriate for the Department of Finance to respond considering its responsibility for the implementation of the carbon tax. I acknowledge the will of the Government to move towards a decarbonised economy over time but, unfortunately, it has failed to recognise the value of peat production and the energy sector in the midlands and, in particular, Bord na Móna's role in that regard. The company has produced over time excellent fitters, mechanics, and electricians and through education thereafter, helped the economies of the towns and villages they built to prosper in the region and to expand the opportunities for the children of these staff which were not necessarily available to those who were at the forefront and put in place initially.
The Government has failed to recognise that this sector in its efforts to diversify and move to a different economy and in its efforts to move to having different driving forces within the local economy should be shown the respect it deserves in so far as a fund should have been put in place, which could have derived from the doubling of the carbon tax by the previous Government. It was an ideal opportunity to help and assist Bord na Móna and other companies within the region to ensure alternative enterprises, industries and opportunities would ensue over time, considering the advancements that have been made in respect of infrastructure and connectivity to Dublin and other centres of population, education and so forth. That opportunity was lost. While I do not doubt the merit of the carbon tax, I implore the Minister of State to provide alternative opportunities in this region by ring-fencing the carbon tax yield from the products manufactured by companies in the region for reinvestment in the community. An innovation fund should be put in place as peat production is decimated, as evidenced by falling sales, notwithstanding the fact that the staff need to know about their future and their prospects for redeployment. Should they not be recognised and their future provided for by virtue of the fact that the ash content is at such a level that it is very productive for the Derrinlough factory to continue to produce briquettes? I implore the Government to reconsider ring-fencing the carbon tax on these products to find alternatives.