ESB snub of Climate Committee 'a disgrace' - David Cullinane TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson for Climate Action David Cullinane TD, has said that the ESB’s request not to appear before the Climate Action Committee next week is a "slap in the face for the Midlands" and "does not bode well for the government’s commitment to a just transition".
Deputy Cullinane said:
“I have been informed by the secretariat of the Climate Action Committee that ESB has asked not to attend next week’s meeting on a just transition.
“The company is due to appear to explain its plans for such a transition, with special focus on the processes it has in place for workers and their communities as the company moves from peat to renewable energy.
“It said that ‘the timing of the invitation is not ideal’ as it is still negotiating future arrangements for its employees – be they transfers or early retirements – and it is instead asking for a number of weeks grace ‘prior to coming into the Committee to give ESB’s perspectives on Just Transition’.
“This is disgraceful. The ESB is supposed to have a just transition plan in place – that was the purpose of the meeting, so it could explain it to the Committee.
“Indeed, Minister Bruton was straight out of the traps for a photo-op last week to make it look like a plan was in place.
“Instead, ESB has admitted that no such plan exists, that it went ahead and announced the closure of two midland stations with little regard for alternative measures to be in place.
“The ESB says that the timing of the Committee meeting is not ideal – as if the announcement seven weeks before Christmas of two plant closures was anything but ideal for the workers involved.
“The plan for the Midlands was supposed to be the gold standard for the way workers and communities would be treated as we move away from fossil fuels.
“Instead, it has turned into a mess and the ESB thinks it can shirk its responsibility to explain its actions.
“The people of the Midlands want answers as to why the announced closures were handled in this way.
“They want to know why no just transition plan was put in place.
“And they want to know what the ESB and the government is going to do about it.
“I have written back to the Committee, calling on the chair not to accept ESB’s request, and instead insist that the company appear before the Committee next week to fully explain itself.
“Both the ESB and the Minister must account for their actions, and Sinn Féin will do everything it can to make sure they do.”