‘’The inactivity of Richard Bruton and the Department of Education over the future of the Bord na Mona workers is a disgrace’’ RENUA Ireland leader John Leahy has claimed.
Mr Leahy said;
‘’The disinterest in putting together a comprehensive response is yet another slight on rural Ireland and Offaly in particular.
Were these job losses occurring anywhere else task forces would be pulled together in a matter of hours.
All we get by contrast is the snub of silence.
This is all the worse given that major funds are available for our workers in Europe.
The response of the government to this opportunity has been one of silent indifference.
The Minister must move far more swiftly than the current death march pace when it comes to applying for EU funds to aid affected Bord na Móna workers in their transition into new employment.
Bord na Móna should also move beyond merely considering its options in relation to an application to the European Globalisation Fund (EGF) for assistance. It’s time for ‘consideration’ to end and for action to begin.
This government has torn the heart out of communities and rural Ireland because of its inaction over Bord na Mona.
When it does act it apparently cannot see a bog without closing it or hard-working rural people in boots without wanting to sack them.
If we are to transition out of peat the government has a responsibility to support communities and jobs associated with the peat business and to identify and develop new opportunities for employment, particularly in the Midlands.
We demand the following information swiftly;
If the Department of Education and Skills is the Managing Authority for the EGF in Ireland what has it done to prepare and submit applications to the EGF that will roll out supports to eligible workers?
What has it done to prepare interim programme implementation reports or is it just sitting around doing nothing beyond looking at its navel?
The government should also engage swiftly with the Regions in Transition Initiative in Brussels which deals with difficulties presented by issues such as Bord na Mona.
We know that for Mr Bruton and his ilk Offaly does not appear to be an address that inspires a great deal of interest when it comes to protecting the rights of working people.
Offaly will remember if this continues to be the case’’.