ESB has a responsibility to support its employees losing their jobs who wish to be retained or upskilled to find alternative employement, Clare’s Independent TD has said.
Speaking in the Dáil on The Green Party’s Just Transition Bill which aims to make the move from a fossil fuel economy to a sustainable climate friendly equivalent, Dr Michael Harty added his supported to call for a National Just Transition Commission.
“Those who work in fossil fuel industries should be given opportunities to transition to new jobs via retraining into environmentally sustainable jobs or other careers to sustain their communities. If one applies this to Moneypoint or to the peat-burning industry in the midlands, companies such as the ESB and Bord na Móna should have a responsibility to support those losing their jobs who wish to be retrained or upskilled to find alternative employment,” Dr Harty stated.
“In west Clare, we have come together organically over the summer to put together a task force that will redefine the future of Moneypoint. It involves workers, community activists, local representatives and national representatives. The employers unfortunately were not there. We have called on Government agencies to join the task force. The local authority and the trade unions are fully behind it. That is the core of a just transition commission. Organically we have identified that in west Clare. The task force is tasked with maximising the potential of Moneypoint which has vast potential, not only to generate power but its deep sea port could be developed into a fantastic resource for transit of cargo to and from Europe. The site needs to be developed into a facility which will generate energy, offshore wind, tidal or wave energy or a combination of all three. All are available in abundance on the west coast of Clare”.
Harty concluded, “Moneypoint has to cease burning coal by 2025 and that has already happened. There are proposals to bring in 104 redundancies out of a total workforce of 198. Those negotiations are under way. Unfortunately, there are no alternative jobs in Moneypoint. This is a loss to the individual who loses his or her job and to the local economy, and reduces the viability of the community. Communities should not be penalised as we move away from fossil fuel industries. They need to be supported by maintaining just employment and invigorating them in a fair and sustainable way”.