A just transition fund for Moneypoint has been promised by An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar with details to be confirmed at “a later date”.
On the same day, it was announced that up to 500 jobs were to be lost with the phased closure of Molex, Varadkar confirmed to Dr. Michael Harty in the Dáil that a fund would be established to set workers losing their jobs in Moneypoint.
Referring to the 2020 Budget and the proposal to set up a just transition fund of €6m “to help communities to move away from high carbon sources of energy to low sources,” the Independent TD requested it be applied to Clare. “The fund is to be used to mitigate the significant affects on workers and local communities as the transition happens. However, it is to be confined to peat burning stations in the midlands and will not apply to the Moneypoint plant in West Clare. Will the Taoiseach and the Government consider extending the just transition fund to the Moneypoint plant and surrounding communities and workers who will also experience the economic shock as we move to low carbon energy production”.
Varadkar confirmed a just transition fund would be required for Co Clare. “It is intended, by the middle of the decade, to close the Moneypoint plan and remove coal from the grid when it comes to electricity generation. The sum of €6 million announced in the budget is for the Midlands, more specifically, the peatlands, including places such as counties Kildare and Longford. It is part of our response to the fact that peat that is being phased out in electricity generation.
“As I said, the sum of €6 million is for the Midlands. We will need a separate but just transition response for the Moneypoint plant. The ESB is able to redeploy staff, but there will be a loss of income in that part of County Clare, thus we will need a just transition fund for the also. That funding will be separate and form part of a separate announcement at a later date”.