Bord na Mona has long been one of the biggest employers in Kildare
Concern has been expressed at comments by Bord na Mona that it could be looking at job losses of up to 300 in the midlands over the coming months.
And Offaly FF TD Barry Cowen has earlier today suggested that hundreds of job losses could be announced tomorrow.
The announcement is the consequence of a major change in focus for the company as it moves away from the harvesting and repackaging of peat products between now and 2030 — the date it has set for officially transitioned away from peat.
More specifically the company is responding to the need to de-carbonise its business. Concerned TD’s and unions responded to the announcement, although a spokesman for Bord na Móna said the company would not be making any statement ahead of a board meeting tomorrow.
Last Wednesday Trade union, Unite which is part of the Bord na Mona Group of Unions, called on the Government to intervene following the company’s announcement. While Bord na Mona has given a commitment to engage in negotiations, Unite Regional Officer Ed Thompson predicted that de-carbonisation would result in further jobs losses, and said that workers and their communities would pay the price unless robust measures are put in place to ensure a ‘Just Transition’ from fossil fuels.
“Those rural communities where Bord na Mona was previously an economic driver are bearing the brunt of de-carbonisation policies introduced to mitigate the effects of climate change,” he explained.
“Climate change is a national, European and global problem, and the response must also be at a supra-national level.”
TD Martin Heydon met with Bord na Mona CEO Tim Donnellan on Friday.
“There is much support that Government can provide in that space and we won’t be found wanting in supporting good innovative proposals through our Climate Action Fund of €500m under our ten year capital plan and Project Ireland 2040,” he explained.
Fiona O’Loughlin, TD for South Kildare also met Mr Donnellan and noted speculation that up to 500 jobs could be lost. She reported that Mr Donnellan advised that the board of the company is meeting this week and that staffing is at the top of the agenda.
Redundancies, he told her, will not be compulsory. She will join TDs from across the Midlands today, Tuesday, October 23, to look at every avenue to support the workers and the local economy across the region and in Kildare.