Published: Thu, 28 February 2019
MEP for Ireland South and leader of Fine Gael in the European Parliament, Seán Kelly, will on Thursday (28th February) host a public meeting in Tullamore on Bord na Móna’s decision to transition away from the use of peat in power stations.
MEP Kelly has said the event will be an opportunity for everyone to discuss the issues surrounding the impending job losses as a result of the decision, and to explore potential policy options to support the Midlands.
Mr. Kelly made the following comments in advance of the meeting:
“Efforts to reduce carbon emissions are essential and continued reductions will be required across all sectors in the coming years. However, we must ensure that this cross-sector transition to a low carbon economy is inclusive and fair, and that nobody is left behind. Supportive policies will be needed for the Midlands in the coming years to ensure that this will be the case.
“Actions must be taken at both EU and Government level as soon as possible. We in the European Parliament are proposing the establishment of a specific fund in the next EU budget of €4.8 billion devoted to the ‘Just Energy Transition’. It would address societal, socio-economic and environmental impacts on workers and communities, like in the Midlands, that are hit by the move away from fossil fuels.
“It is imperative that EU Governments in the Council accept the European Parliament’s proposal and deliver these much needed funds to support the impacted regions.
“My public meeting on Thursday will be a great opportunity to discuss the ways forward for the region with high-level experts and decision-makers. The idea is to explore the potential policy actions that can be taken in the short to medium term to ensure a ‘Just Transition’ for all those impacted locally in the Midlands.
“I am privileged to be able to welcome Aleksandra Tomczak, a key expert from the European Commission and the person dealing with the transition away from coal in regions across the EU, to Tullamore. Whatever the solution will be, it is important to learn from what has been done in other carbon-intensive regions around Europe and how they have dealt with similar situations; Aleksandra’s insights in this regard will be most helpful.
“I am also delighted that I will have John MacNamara of Bord na Móna, and Willie Noone of SIPTU representing the impacted workers to give us a full range of perspectives on our expert panel. I look forward to the discussion ahead, meeting the attendees, and addressing this issue of huge concern”, concluded MEP Kelly.