Huge blow to Midlands as Bord na Móna to cut 400 jobs
A massive blow to the Midlands region this afternoon with confirmation from Bord na Móna that a voluntary redundancy programme is underway that could lead to the loss of between 380-430 jobs.
The news comes as Bord na Móna announced its strategy to decarbonise, accelerating moves away from its traditional peat business into renewables, resource recovery and new sustainable businesses.
The company's statement this afternoon did not identify particular peat operations in the midlands that will close – but national reports have indicated that some 17 working bogs have been earmarked for the end of production.
A consultation process that includes the Group of Unions is underway.
The company stressed that a key focus of its decarbonisation plan is ensuring that Bord na Móna remains a very significant employer in the Midlands of Ireland for the decades to come.
Chief Executive Tom Donnellan said: “Decarbonisation is the biggest challenge facing this planet. For Bord na Móna it presents both a serious challenge and a national opportunity. By accelerating the move away from peat into renewable energy, resource recovery and new businesses we are supporting national policy and seizing the opportunity presented by decarbonisation. Standing still is not an option for Bord na Móna.”
However, he said: “Decarbonisation means we must introduce a new structure it also means confronting some extremely difficult choices. It means that fewer people will be working in peat operations and also managerial and administrative roles across Bord na Móna".
The company also said it hoped to identify the potential to create 400-500 jobs in the Midlands in the medium term.
Mr Donnellan said the company aims to become a leading provider of renewable energy on the Island of Ireland by 2026, a leader in high value recycling and provider of a range of new low carbon goods and services.
“In the medium term, we will be increasing employment again in our new businesses but this is not to minimise the real short term challenges for people that flow from decarbonisation."
The decarbonisation plan includes a proposal to accelerate the development of renewable energy assets, providing up to 2GW of generating assets by 2030.
There is to be a steep increase in the supply of greenhouse gas-neutral biomass to replace peat at the three midlands power stations.
The complete end of using peat for energy has also been brought forward by two years to 2028 from 2030 and there is to be an immediate steep reduction in peat volumes down from a recent high of 6.5million tonnes in 2013 to 2 million in 2020.