The five Sinn Fein Midlands TDs from Laois/Offaly, Kildare, Roscommon, Longford / Westmeath and Tipperary constituencies recently met with the CEO of Bord na Mona in Mount Lucas, Daingean regarding the future of the company and the expansion of employment in the region.
Laois’s Brian Stanley was part of the meeting and he explained why it took place.
He said: “We sought this meeting as Sinn Féin believe that as Bord Na Mona transition from peat to renewable energy there are real opportunities for the company to become the major player in the sector.
“Our TDs impressed on Tom Donnellan the importance of good quality jobs being created in this region and Sinn Féin’s support for a Just Transition.
“Bord Na Mona is the only company that has the land, buildings and infrastructure to do this. Along with being publicly owned, it has the track record in industrial development and job creation.”
According Mr Stanley, CEO Donnellan explained how he wants Bord na Mona to become the main supplier of renewable power in the country.
He said: “The CEO outlined the strategy and the ambitious plans that the company have to move from ‘brown to green’. He informed us that he wants Bord na Mona to become the main supplier of renewable power, providing 30% plus of all homes and businesses.
“This will require increasing the supply of Biomass to fully fuel Edenderry Power Station and further development of wind and solar and hygrogen.
“With the company now number two in the waste industry, we had a comprehensive discussion on their future plans to expand this and move into other areas of waste recovery and reuse, such as wood, paper and plastics.
“In this regard Sinn Féin’s Deposit and Return scheme for plastic containers would assist this move.”
Mr Donnellan also explained some of the work that is already underway to switch the focus of the company.
Mr Stanley said: “Tom Donnellan set out the work already underway on rewetting bogs and generating jobs and income from carbon sequestration.
“He believes this has significant employment and potential to generate income on a long term basis.
“The ending of using peat for horticultural compost is of concern in Laois and South Kildare and potential knock on job losses.
“We raised this with the management who gave a commitment that the manufacturing of compost would continue in Kilberry using organic municipal waste and that there would be employment on the surrounding bogs in carbon sequestration.
“The company expressed its intention to utilise the Coolnamona site near Portlaoise for employment and are looking at various options.
“Myself and the other TD’s committed to supporting investment in Bord na Mona as it takes a new direction and advancing policies that will facilitate the transition.
“Sinn Féin wants the Midlands to capitalise on the job creation potential of the new sustainable industries that will be created across Europe.”