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Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice has hit out at Bord na Móna’s announcement that it will create a further 885 new jobs over the next five years as the company continues to pursue its “brown-to-green” transformation.
Describing the news as “disingenuous” and “spin tactics”, the Roscommon-Galway TD called on Bord na Móna’s CEO Tom Donnellan and Climate and Environment Minister Eamon Ryan “to be honest about the real picture, rather than highlighting the headline figures to suit the narrative they are trying to push”.
The deputy said: “Claims that the company’s direct employment will return to pre-2018 levels and that the positions will provide the same security as the traditional jobs offered by the company is not the reality.
“The spin doctors have been out in force in an effort to paint a picture of positivity and prosperity, as Bord na Móna is hailed for its transition from brown to green.
“But when you dig below the surface, the reality is much more grim.”
On the announcement of plans for the creation of a 885 jobs over the next five years, Mr Fitzmaurice said 250 of those are supposed to be direct employees of Bord na Móna, 300 jobs will be involved in the construction of renewable energy projects, while 335 will be supposedly created as a result of partnerships with third parties.
“There was plenty of talk about the rehabilitation of bogs and the work it will entail for direct employees. But what happens when all of the available bogs have been rehabilitated? Where will those employees be diverted to?
“While 300 jobs may be created as a result of the construction of wind farms or other renewable energy projects, that will only last for the months that they are being constructed. How many jobs will these wind farms provide once they are operational?
“Reports from the event in Cloncreen, Co Offaly, also highlighted 335 jobs to be created as part of partnerships with other companies involved in the development of modular homes or drones etc.
“The fact of the matter is that Bord na Móna has no hand, act or part in the creation of some of these jobs, as these outside companies are privately investing their own money to create these jobs, while leasing premises from Bord na Móna.
“Bord na Móna, Tom Donnellan and Minister Eamon Ryan need to be honest about the real picture, rather than highlighting the headline figures to suit the narrative they are trying to push,” the TD concluded.
‘21st century jobs’
Over the past 18 months, Bord na Móna says it has created 550 jobs redeveloping renewable energy. The company says 80pc of its operations are now focused on renewable energy production, recycling, peatland rehabilitation, and sustainable product development. By 2030, it says it will be able to supply one-third of Irish homes with renewable energy.
Yesterday, Bord na Móna CEO Tom Donnellan said: “Bord na Móna’s transformation shows that people and planet can both win in the coming decades. We are in the climate solutions business now and today’s announcement is tangible evidence that we are, and will continue to be, a leading employer in the midlands into the future.
“We are going beyond merely replacing old jobs. We are creating over 1,400 21st-century jobs ranging from operatives to high tech and professional roles.”
Minister Ryan said: “Just transition to me means good, sustainable, long-term jobs for the workers affected and I’m really glad to see the creation of these 1,400 jobs for the midlands.”
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