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Job losses expected in Laois as Bord na Mona announced plans to cease peat operations

Bord na Mona

Bord na Mona have announced their intentions to cease peat production in Ireland within the next decade, which is likely to mean job loses in Laois and the Midland region, according to AgriLand.

As part of its decarbonisation plan, Bord na Mona has announced yesterday that it will cease using peat for energy by 2028 which is two years earlier than previously discussed.

The company confirmed that it is accelerating moves away from its traditional peat business into renewables, resource recovery and new sustainable businesses.

Bord na Mona chief executive Tom Donnellan launched the ‘Brown to Green’ strategy, which aims to align the company with national and EU decarbonisation policies.

Commenting on the move, Donnellan said: “Decarbonisation is the biggest challenge facing this planet. For Bord na Mona, it presents both a serious challenge and a national opportunity.

“By accelerating the move away from peat into renewable energy, resource recovery and new businesses, we are supporting national policy and seizing the opportunity presented by decarbonisation.

“Standing still is not an option for Bord na Mona. We are embarking on a transition phase now which will see us become a leading provider of renewable energy on the island of Ireland by 2026, a leader in high-value recycling and a provider of a range of new low-carbon goods and services.

“Allied to all of this, a key focus of our decarbonisation plan is ensuring that Bord na Mona remains a very significant employer in the midlands of Ireland for the decades to come,” he said speaking to AgriLand.

Donnellan claimed that BNM has put in place a new structure in the past few months to safeguard the “maximum” number of jobs, facilitate the decarbonisation strategy and reposition of the company.

“While decarbonisation means we must introduce a new structure, it also means confronting some extremely difficult choices.

“It means that fewer people will be working in peat operations and also managerial and administrative roles across Bord na Mona. We will shortly open a voluntary redundancy programme, with the expectation that these changes could directly impact approximately 380-430 roles and employees.

“A consultation process that includes the group of unions is underway. It will enable Bord na Mona to work through these challenges.

“In the medium term, we will be increasing employment again in our new businesses – but this is not to minimise the real short-term challenges for people that flow from decarbonisation,” Donnellan concluded.

Minister for Justice and Equality and Laois TD, Charlie Flanagan has commented on the matter saying: “Bord na Mona is an organisation which is really important to the Irish Midlands, and has been since the Turf Development Act of 1946.

“I acknowledge the close relationship which has developed between it and the people of the midlands over the past number of decades.

“Obviously however times have changed, and I accept that, with particular reference to Climate Change and the need to decarbonise, Bord na Mona now needs to diversify.

“However the impact on the midlands is such that I am asking Bord na Mona, Senior Officials from Dept Business & Innovation, the IDA, Enterprise Ireland and the local LEO offices to convene a meeting and arrange a special committee charged with responsibility of focusing on jobs maintenance and creation in the midlands.”

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