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Bord na Móna

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Snippet Contents:

I concur with what the previous speaker has said; time is of the essence. What we heard about the situation yesterday demonstrates that time is not on our side, as those of us who have been following the issue and making representations on it know. We are literally trying to catch up by 25 or 30 years. As has already been said, this issue needs to be dealt with in the budget next week. With regard to the climate action fund, funding needs to be released. Workers need some certainty. They do not know whether they will have a job in two, three, or four weeks' time. That is the reality. I have met workers in the last week who do not know. We declared a climate emergency; we accepted that we have one. Bord na Móna is now part of that emergency. The programme for Government says that "The Departments with responsibility for Agriculture and Energy policy will explore, with Bord na Móna, the potential of energy crops, which can be grown in the vicinity of Bord na Móna plants". I have been hammering this issue for years. Has that happened? Is that under way? The Minister needs to sit down with the CEOs of Bord na Móna and the ESB, because the two companies are linked on this issue, in order to set out a way forward, of which the Minister can then inform us. He needs to make a statement regarding co-firing as it is Government policy to co-fire peat and biomass. The Government needs to give a clear policy direction with regard to biomass, biogas, wind, solar, and forestry. These are the new industries that will be needed to replace peat.