Tuesday 16 July 2019

Bord na Mona to lay off 150 workers in Longford after plant suspension

Stock Image: Getty Images
Stock Image: Getty Images

Ralph Riegel

BORD na Mona has suspended all peat operations at its Mountdillon works and placed 148 full and part-time workers on immediate unpaid leave as a direct fall-out from the ongoing suspension of operations at the Lough Ree power plant.

The peat-fired power station at Lanesboro in Longford has been offline since July 5 because of difficulties with its environmental license obligations.

There is no indication as to when the peat-fired ESB power station will be able to resume normal operations.

Bord na Mona warned today that, with no demand for its peat production from the Lough Ree facility, it has had to take action over its Mountdillon works.

"This unforeseen event has a direct and adverse impact for Bord na Móna Energy operations at Mountdillon including peat supply, bog operations and maintenance," a company spokesperson said.

"Since July 7 there is no requirement to supply any peat to Lough Ree Power and the energy business unit has no option but to take the decision to cease all operations at Mountdillon works and place all impacted employees on protective notice effective immediately."

Bord na Mona confirmed that, from next Thursday (July 18), around 70 permanent employees at Mountdillon will be placed on temporary unpaid leave.

The firm warned this will remain the position until the Lough Ree power plant resumes normal operations.

A further 78 seasonal employees will also be placed on temporary unpaid leave.

"The company acknowledges the difficulties and impact that this will have on employees and their families," the spokesperson said.

"A meeting has been arranged with the group of unions for Friday (July 12) to work through this process and review all options. It is unfortunate that the company has had to take this course of action and looks forward to a resolution of the issues at the earliest opportunity."

Locals expressed shock at the announcement and the economic implications for the Longford and midlands economy. Pressure is now mounting on the ESB and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to resolve the licensing difficulty with the Lough Ree power plant as a matter of priority.

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