Hundreds attended a public protest in Lanesborough, Co. Longford yesterday evening (Monday, July 22nd), in response to job losses at Bord na Móna’s plant in the town.
78 seasonal workers have been laid off to date, while a further 72 permanent staff are also being impacted by the closure.
The ESB has decided to cease operations temporarily at the plant at Lough Ree due to legal proceedings being brought against it by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
In a post on Facebook, Independent Roscommon–Galway TD Michael Fitzmaurice said: “It was great to see the turnout of people in Lanesboro to support the Bord na Mona workers this evening.”
“A united call was made for Minister Richard Bruton to call in the heads of the ESB and Bord na Móna to solve this issue and retain jobs in rural Ireland.”
Speaking at the protest, Fitzmaurice said: “What Minister Bruton, the head of Bord na Móna and the ESB might not realise is that 100-150 jobs in rural Ireland is the same as 3,000-4,000 jobs going in their lovely Dublin.”
“The people in rural areas do matter, must matter and have to kept in employment. Those are the people that keep the butcher going or the small shop in this town.”
'Continue the fight'
“Those are the people that keep a community going in rural Ireland and it might be fine for the people in the leafy Dublin talking about their electric cars and their new ways of doing things, we have a way of life here; we will not surrender our people to what Dublin wants to do.”
Fitzmaurice said that they are going to “continue the fight” along with the unions over the coming days and called on his fellow politicians to “put the pressure on where it matters”.
“In fairness across the board, there seems to be a united pact because Richard Bruton has to kick ass, he has to bring them in, sit them down and explain what ye mean to this area and rural Ireland.”
“He has to make sure that the jobs are protected, and I will look for the recalling of the Dáil, with the support of these, if this isn’t sorted in the coming days,” he concluded.