Just two out of every five jobs promised within Bord na Mona for bog rehabilitation work across the midland counties have been filled, according to a Dáil reply received by Denis Naughten TD.
“This rehabilitation work on the bogs was specifically funded to secure short term employment for Bord na Mona workers, but only a fraction of seasonal workers have been offered employment with just 152 jobs offered to date out of 350 potential positions,” stated Denis Naughten.
“As we move into the height of what was traditionally peat harvesting season with, so few seasonal staff employed there is growing concern locally with regard to the bog rehabilitation process.
“There are also instances where there have been concerns expressed by local landowners regarding the level of engagement on the impact that these works could have on existing farmland.”
Deputy Naughten pointed out: “In 2019, I proposed that the Government would introduce and a bog restoration programme to protect existing jobs in Bord na Móna in the short term, pending the reconfiguration of the company. I am glad the Government took on board my proposal, which resulted in Cabinet approval last year of a €108 million large-scale peatland restoration project by Bord na Móna, which will create 350 jobs.
“However, there is an ongoing lack of progress in recruiting the 280 seasonal workers, all of whom were laid off by the company last year. These seasonal staff cannot just be thrown aside and have no clarity on what their future holds, this is just not good enough,” concluded Denis Naughten.
Editor’s Note: Dáil reply from Minister for the Environment.
For Written Answer on : 16/06/2021
Question Number(s): 51,43 Question Reference(s): 32376/21, 32377/21
Department: Environment, Climate and Communications
Asked by: Denis Naughten T.D.
To ask the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications further to Parliamentary Question No. 140 of 11 May 2021, if he will provide details on the progress to date of Bord na Móna’s large-scale peatlands restoration project and the number of Bord na Móna employees reassigned to date from peat harvesting activities; the number of Bord na Móna seasonal staff re-employed on each bog in which rehabilitation has commenced; the planned recruitment on each bog to be rehabilitated in 2021; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Denis Naughten.
To ask the Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications the progress to date of the National Parks and Wildlife Service peatland scheme for large-scale peatlands restoration in 2021; the number of Bord na Móna employees reassigned to date from peat harvesting activities; the number of Bord na Móna seasonal staff re-employed on each bog in which rehabilitation has commenced; the planned recruitment on each bog to be rehabilitated in 2021; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Denis Naughten.
I propose to take Questions Nos 43 and 51 together.
The Government is committed to a just transition in the Midlands region and has dedicated significant funding to supporting workers, companies and communities affected by the closure of the peat-fired power stations and the end of peat harvesting by Bord na Móna. The Government approved funding of €108 million for Bord na Móna’s large-scale peatlands project to rehabilitate 33,000 hectares of peatlands. This project is seeing Bord Na Móna reassign employees from peat harvesting activities into rehabilitation operations while supporting the natural environment and biodiversity of the peatlands.
In 2020, following a public procurement process, Bord Na Móna were engaged by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage to project manage, provide other professional services, and undertake restoration works within the designated raised bog network.
Since its appointment in April 2020, Bord Na Móna, overseen by a project working group, has undertaken significant preparatory works in advance of restoration measures at 9 project sites in the Midlands region, with a further 5 raised bog special areas of conservation to form part of this year’s programme.
Combined, these schemes will support 350 jobs – taking seasonality into account, this equates to 230 full-time equivalent roles. Of the 350 jobs, approximately 330 will be from the existing workforce.
To date across counties Galway, Meath, Kildare, Westmeath, Offaly, Roscommon, Laois and Longford I’m advised that 152 jobs have been assigned. This is an increase of 47 posts since May 2021. This number will continue to increase through the summer.
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