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Snippet Contents:

I spoke on this matter during Leaders' Questions. The Tánaiste responded in fairly general terms. His response was commendable in the sense that he reiterated the commitment of Government to making various State supports available to staff of Bord na Móna in the short-term. Perhaps the Minister can deal more extensively with the two questions I asked this morning. Can he confirm to the House that ESB will proceed with co-fuelling at Lanesborough and at Shannonbridge, having received confirmation from the Government last Monday that it is Government policy? I hope that planning application caters for such arrangements up until 2025, as well as an extension at Edenderry from 2023 to 2025. It would guarantee what remains in the peat harvesting sector. Over 900 staff are from my county, notwithstanding the others.
The Tánaiste said that the Government was open to suggestions and recommendations from the House and beyond. The various local authorities are meeting next week to formulate a response and to prepare a mechanism they believe would best serve their own regions. I wrote to the Taoiseach, and he informed me that he forwarded my correspondence to the Minister. I made a proposal for a just, sustainable transition forum which could be put in place to address these issues and make recommendations on innovation and enterprise to support the region with alternative forms of employment. Is funding available for such a forum? Other Deputies have spoken about the EU's globalisation fund, but I would also like to see the Government inject cash into this, perhaps using revenue from the carbon tax. The public service obligation payment to the ESB for those power plants expires next year, which will represent a saving for the Government. A portion of that money could be given towards this area; it would show the community that there is a willingness and commitment to helping the people and a pathway to assisting the region.