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Snippet Contents:

Local Deputies, including Deputies Eugene Murphy and Stanley, met representatives of the Bord na Móna group of unions yesterday. They informed us that the company is currently borrowing money from day to day to pay its staff. The public service obligation finishes for Lough Ree power station on 9 December and for West Offaly power station on 31 December. The situation is completely unsustainable. We are facing an economic catastrophe across the middle of Ireland in just 68 days, with the loss of 2,000 direct jobs and another 2,000 jobs that are dependent on the wage packets of these employees. We need the Minister to take three urgent and immediate steps. The Government must make a clear and unambiguous statement reiterating its support for the co-firing of the two plants with both peat and biomass as per the unanimous request to the Minister made by all Deputies for the area in Tullamore last July. The Minister must immediately call in the chief executives of Bord na Móna and the ESB to get absolute clarity on the intention to submit a new planning application for West Offaly power station and to deal with the 3 million tonnes of milled peat that are currently on the bogs and have the potential to cause serious environmental harm if not removed from the bogs. The Government must immediately release funds from the climate action fund to start the rehabilitation of the decommissioned bogs across the midlands. I have written to the Minister directly on foot of correspondence I have received from the Taoiseach, who is supportive of the release of funding from the climate action fund to start the rehabilitation and allow for immediate employment of staff in Bord na Móna across the midlands.