The Green Party welcome the Just Transition conference held by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions; ‘Just Transition: Climate Change & the Implications for the Energy Sector’ as a positive step forward on action on climate change and echo their call for a just transition of the workers to decent, secure jobs in the low carbon economy.
Echoing ICTU’s condemnation of the treatment of workers at in Littleton Peat Briquette Factory, Green Party Energy Spokesperson Gearoid Fitzgibbon said today, “Bord na Móna or it’s owner the Irish State have not taken account of what this means for the community of Littleton and surrounding area which has one of the highest levels of social disadvantage in Tipperary. For a just energy transition to happen, we are calling for proper consultation with workers at the plant, examination of the possibilities of re-purposing the technology for low carbon fuels, long-term plans, supports and resources to be organised for workers to ensure retraining of the workforce for the growing low carbon economy or failing that alternative employment.
In transitioning to a low carbon economy, the people involved in that economy must be central to action on climate change. The views and skills of workers must be central to driving that transition forward. While climate justice is a core aspect of the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act. The case of Littleton and the government’s Draft National Mitigation Plan ignore this.”
Leader of the Green Party Eamon Ryan TD said today, “The Irish midlands must not be allowed to become like the US and UK ‘rust-belts’. The Bord na Mona announcement in relation to the Littleton factory is a prime example of how not to manage this process and clear evidence of why we need Government to provide well-ordered, long-term plans to justly transition these affected areas and workers to a low carbon economy. The end is coming for fossil fuel employment, and we cannot risk creating an economy where people are left behind. Communities cannot be abandoned in the move to a low carbon economy - the transition must be just as fair as it is fast.
"We reiterate our calling for the remains of the PSO levy for peat until 2019 – €120m a year - to be re-directed into a fund that will pay for the re-training of workers over the next few years and providing job transition supports in the Midlands. The Government needs to supply the Midlands with viable, vibrant jobs in the green economy led by workers in the peat-plants and their communities.