The European Commission has today officially approved Ireland’s Territorial Just Transition Plan and associated Programme for 2021-2027. The approval has been welcomed by the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan, and follows government approval on 29 November 2022.
The EU Just Transition Fund (EUJTF) is targeted at the Midlands region. The designated territory for this fund includes the counties of Laois, Longford, Offaly, Roscommon, Westmeath, and the municipal districts of Ballinasloe (Co. Galway), Athy and Clane-Maynooth (Co. Kildare), and Carrick-on-Suir and Thurles (Co. Tipperary). The aim of the fund is to address the long-term economic transition of the region following the end of commercial peat extraction and peat-fired power generation.
Commenting on the agreement, Minister Ryan said:
“Ireland’s Climate Action Plan provides a framework for a just transition away from dependence on fossil fuels. This just transition approach will allow Ireland to green its economy in a way that is as fair and as inclusive as possible, leaving no one behind. I am delighted to confirm that we have now secured final agreement on Ireland’s overall programme of investments under the EU Just Transition Fund of up to €169 million, which can now get underway, benefiting Midland’s peatlands communities for the period out to 2027.”
Ireland’s Territorial Just Transition Plan sets out the impacts on the territory most negatively affected by the move away from fossil fuels and identifies the development needs and priorities for the territory – to address these negative impacts. A public consultation on the draft Territorial Just Transition Plan took place earlier this year, to provide all stakeholders with an opportunity to contribute to the plan.
The EUJTF Programme sets out the investment priorities for the €169 million to address the negative impacts of the transition to climate neutrality in the designated area. The fund will be managed by the Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly (EMRA).
The programme will be targeted at impacted peat communities in the Midlands, focused on three priorities, including:
- generating employment by investing in the diversification of the local economy
- supporting the restoration and rehabilitation of degraded peatlands and the regeneration and repurposing of industrial heritage assets
- providing former peat communities with smart and sustainable mobility options to enable them to benefit directly from the green transition
Minister Ryan continued:
“The government remains committed to a just transition in the Midlands region and has already dedicated significant funding to supporting workers, companies and communities affected by the closure of the peat-fired power stations and the end of peat harvesting by Bord na Móna. A total of €29 million of funding will be available in 2023 under the national and EU Just Transition Funds (EUJTF). I look forward to the formal launch and implementation of the EUJTF programme by the Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly, in conjunction with government partners over the coming months.”