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“Offaly and Laois must not be left behind in the distribution of EU Just Transition funding.”

Independent TD for Laois-Offaly Carol Nolan has called on the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan, to provide specific and concrete assurances that any future funding that will be drawn down as part of the EU Just Transition Fund will not end up with the constituency experiencing any further economic disadvantage.

Deputy Nolan was speaking following Minister Ryan’s confirmation that his Departments draft Territorial Just Transition Plan will seek to have EU Commission funding of up €84 million dispersed between East Galway, North Tipperary, Longford, Laois, Offaly, Westmeath, West Kildare and Roscommon:

“The fact that the entire Midlands region has been adversely impacted by the radical decarbonisation strategy is a fact that no one can doubt,” Deputy Nolan stated.

“But what is equally without doubt is the fact that Offaly has been particularly hard hit by the escalated ‘Just Transition’ process, ESB closures and indirect job losses.

The Independent TD went on to say that “the recognition of this fact demands a proportionate response in terms of future funding distribution.”

“Minister Ryan has said that the draft plan is aligned with the EU’s vision and with the ‘territorial coverage’ of the national Just Transition Fund.

What I am suggesting however is that the funding emphasis should be targeted to those areas that have experienced the greatest level of negative economic impact rather than on territorial coverage per se.

It is vital that we get the balance right at the outset of this entire consultation process, as difficult as that will be to achieve.

What we cannot have is for the entire process to end with areas like Offaly and indeed Laois having been once again left at the sharp end of a deeply unfair process that has already caused so much instability and uncertainty,” concluded Deputy Nolan.

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