The Taoiseach is being called on to consider fast-tracking dedicated financial support for communities affected by the scaling back of operations at Moneypoint.
A multi-million euro just transition fund was allocated to the midlands, where there has been a move away from peat production, and Leo Varadkar has now admitted that similar funding will be have to be made available for West Clare.
The Taoiseach has promised a Just Transition Fund to support West Clare communities impacted by Moneypoint’s wind down “at a later date”.
He was responding to a question from Dr Michael Harty, in light of the the €6 million euro just transition fund allocated to the midlands in the Budget earlier this month.
Other financial supports were also put in place for that area, and it will stay there, as Taoiseach Leo Varadkar ruled out diverting the funding to Clare.
However, he says a fund will be made available for Clare down the line.
While the promise of financial supports is broadly welcome, there’s frustration at the pace in which it’s being delivered.
Kilrush Councllor Ian Lynch says the government’s been too slow to react to the loss of jobs at Moneypoint.
Staff there agreed a deal with the ESB, with around 100 expected to end their employment at the plant, while Councillor Lynch estimates that as many more contractors are also affected.
He is calling for clarity on how the fund will be distributed and is warning that time is of the essence.
A Council-led task force, which aims to offset the impact of changes at Moneypoint was set up last July, but hasn’t yet met.
Councillor Lynch says they hadn’t been able to secure the involvement of agencies such as the IDA until the government’s commitment was made.
Now, a number of meetings are now due to take place and Fianna Fáil General Election candidate Rita McInerney says it’s vital that the Government ensures that progress is made.
The Doonbeg woman says the importance of providing quality jobs in West Clare can’t be underestimated.