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03/22/2018 12:00:00 AM


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Naughten, Denis

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Topical Issues

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Bord na Móna

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Bord na Móna

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Environment

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issues relating to

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9

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Topical Issues\Bord na Móna

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Topical Issues\Bord na Móna\Environment\Bord na Móna, issues relating to

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Bord na Móna

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Environment\Bord na Móna, issues relating to

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Senator


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Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten)

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Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten)

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Denis Naughten

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Snippet Contents:

I thank the Deputy for raising this important issue. I will not recite poetry, although I will declare an interest to the extent that I have been eaten out of the bog by midges on many occasions. The village in which I was born is surrounded by bog. Incidentally, I hated every day I spent on the bog.
Bord na Móna employs approximately 450 people in County Kildare. The company has a long association with the county, which historically centred on peat harvesting operations across bogs in the north and west of the county. Bord na Móna's 450 County Kildare based employees are located at a number of centres, including the company's head office which has been located in Newbridge since 1994. The head office provides the location for most of the group's central support services. It also houses many of its business unit headquarters, including those for the fuels, horticulture and resource recovery businesses. The resource recovery business headquarters also incorporates the call centre for the AES waste collection business. Other significant Bord na Móna centres across the county include the horticulture facility in Kilberry, the resource recovery facility in Drehid and peat harvesting operations across a number of bogs.
With the exception of the fuels business, none of these areas is affected by yesterday's decision. It should be noted that the decision does not affect the approximately 120 people who are involved in the manufacture of the company's peat briquettes at Derrinlough, County Offaly. Yesterday's decision by the company to cease operations in its coal business will affect 11 of the 450 employees in County Kildare, of whom seven are located in Newbridge and four at a convenience fuels facility in Lullymore. The company is engaging with the affected employees and will consult them on possible outcomes, including redeployment.
Bord na Móna informed employees yesterday of the decision to exit the coal business for a number of commercial and regulatory reasons. As the Deputy will be aware, Bord na Móna is a commercial semi-State company and while operational matters are the responsibility of the board and management team and do not come directly within my area of responsibility or functions, I am nonetheless acutely conscious of the impact of the recent decision on employees of the company. The underlying reasons for the move away from coal form part of the company's transition from its traditional business activities towards a business model that is sustainable in the long term. This includes the coal-firing of the peat-fired power stations in Edenderry, Lanesboro and Shannonbridge.
To answer the Deputy's question, I support the company's transition and attended the public consultation days in the parochial hall in Shannonbridge and St. Mary's Hall in Lanesboro, at which we engaged with members of the community and explained what we were planning to do to transition from peat to biomass in the next decade or thereabouts. My priority is to ensure biomass is generated and grown as close as possible to the three peat-fired power stations. The intention is to maintain and, I hope, enhance current employment levels in Bord na Móna. I am acutely conscious of the importance of the employment provided by the company across the midland counties, extending from east County Galway to counties Roscommon, Laois, Offaly, Westmeath and Kildare. I am determined to put in place a sustainable transition and maintain the maximum possible number of employees in the areas in which the company currently operates. The same types of equipment and skill sets will be used to bring biomass into the peat-fired power stations.