THE Government’s “indifferent attitude towards the midlands” has been slammed by lFianna Fail Deputy Barry Cowen.
He claimed the failure of the Government to apply for the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund almost five months after the announcement of job losses at Bord na Móna further demonstrates their complete ambivalence to the area.
Deputy Cowen explained, “Back in October I called for the Government to apply for the EU fund which could be used to assist workers who have been made redundant. I also called on them to create a Sustainable Transition Forum to support the Midlands economy. Along with the EU fund we need investment from the State, whether it is from the ring-fencing of carbon tax revenues or a public service obligation payment.
“There was great fanfare and photo ops recently when three Ministers came to Birr to launch an Enterprise plan. Now we see a Government MEP coming to the area to pontificate on how the transition to a low carbon economy must be inclusive and fair for all citizens. It’s a bit rich of them given that they haven’t even taken the measures available to them to assist the area.
“Our region and our county deserve funding over and above existing programmes to deal with the issue of decarbonisation. The region needs to maintain its place as an initiator and instigator of the provision of energy. My concerns don’t seem to be mirrored on the Government benches and they have demonstrated little willingness to put in place a pathway to assist the region.
“Bord na Móna has been the driver of economic life in the county for 80 years. The effect of its closure is felt not only by the workers and their families but also on communities and ancillary businesses and services offered in the region. While it’s better late than never to have Government representatives open their eyes to the issue, we need a specific concerted effort to support the region, concluded Deputy Cowen.