The Midlands will be prioritised for jobs, business and education opportunities in Just Transition Funding - with Minister Pippa Hackett continuing to champion her own county, Offaly.
She is welcoming ideas from organisations and entrepreneurs in how this funding can be best spent to create a bright future for the people who live here.
The Midlands region is set to receive up to €84 from the EU Fund over the programming period of 2021-2027, which will be 100% match funded by the Irish Government to bring the total to €168m for this region alone.
Speaking following a briefing for Oireachtas members led by Minister Eamon Ryan, Minister Pippa Hackett welcomed the long-term commitment to a Just Transition Commission and a wider Just Transition approach for the whole of the country.
However, as I have previously raised with Minister Ryan, I will continue to champion the counties of Laois, Offaly, and Westmeath – particularly Offaly – as the counties most impacted by the move away from peat harvesting, she said.
“The impact of the transition on the Midlands is a great one, which is why the intervention needs to be great, too. The plan will address and meet the needs of those effected in the Midlands by providing opportunities for work and education and will develop regional resilience."
"I've been lucky enough to visit some up and running Just Transition projects and some projects that are about to get started and I can honestly say that this funding has positively benefitted communities - in jobs, in enterprise and in climate awareness. I look forward to seeing what further funding will do for the Midlands."
Just Transition Commissioner, Kieran Mulvey, was due to complete his term last month, but is to stay on board for another six months.
“This is really welcome news,” said Minister Hackett. “Soon we will have a Just Transition Commission as is allowed for in the Climate Action Plan and Kieran Mulvey will be best placed to advise and assist with the formation of that Commission when the time comes.”
A public consultation on the funding is open until 14 February. Details can be found here