The government has confirmed it has allocated €108m for Bord na Móna’s large-scale peatlands restoration project.
The Carbon Store and Capture Plan will protect the storage of 100m tonnes of carbon, sequester 3.2m tonnes of carbon out to 2050, enhance biodiversity, create 350 jobs in total and will deliver significant benefits and contribute to Ireland’s target of being carbon-neutral by 2050.
The Government funding, which will come from the Climate Action Fund, will be bolstered by an €18m investment from Bord na Móna, who are committed to a “brown to green” transition.
Many of those employed in this project will be former peat harvesters who have an intimate knowledge and long history of working on our bogs.
The Just Transition Fund is financed by the Government of Ireland from carbon tax revenues with an additional €5m committed by the ESB.
Welcoming the news, Bord na Móna Chief Executive Tom Donnellan said: “This is a major win for Ireland’s progress on Climate Action.
“Peatlands only cover 3% of the Earth’s surface but hold 30% of all the Carbon stored on land.
“They have a unique natural power to capture carbon and deliver significant wins for us and for future generations.
“Bord na Móna’s new Peatlands Restoration Plan will work with nature to make this happen and will demonstrate its leadership role in climate action, delivering on government policy and national decarbonisation objectives.”
While local politicians have also welcomed the announcement.
TD Charlie Flanagan said: “I warmly welcome the approval of €108m for the Just Transition fund.
“This investment will go some way towards ensuring development of the Midland counties after Peat Power Generation.
“Between them, Bord na Mona and the ESB have provided livelihoods for tens of thousands of families in the Midlands over the past 70 years.
“While the investment is welcome, the Government must ensure the sustainability of economic and social wellbeing across the midlands.
“I am confident however that more will be done with the assistance of the European Union and national Government to guard against the Midlands counties becoming the ‘Rust Belt of Ireland’ in the context of new developments in our national energy supply.”
While Minister Pippa Hackett said: “The Midlands has suffered in the transition to the new Green economy but we promised to support the workers and the communities through this. This is what we are delivering today.
“The bogs are a magnificent resource for storing carbon, reducing emissions, and supporting biodiversity, and rehabilitating them is hugely important work.
“The Bord na Mona workers know these bogs better than anyone, and they are best positioned to deliver this vital work, which will help to sustain the local economy.”
Also, in further good news for the region, provisional offers of funding, totalling €27.8m, have been made today to 47 projects in the midlands under the Just Transition Fund.
The projects represent innovative and inspiring plans from businesses, local authorities and communities in the midlands who are committed to creating a green and sustainable economy for the region.
This dedication from the community and targeted support, according to Minister Hackett, will make the region an attractive and sustainable place to live and work.
It will fund training and reskilling so local businesses and communities can adjust to a low-carbon transition.
She said: “The community projects funded by the Just Transition Fund will create a sense of engagement in the move toward the Green economy. Already we’re seeing a greater sense of the need for climate action at school and community level so it’s vital that these initiatives are supported. It’s a good day for action on climate and biodiversity action, and a good day for the Midlands.”