Using peat as an energy source is inn someway as traditional to Ireland as green grazing hills , Source: Megan Johnson / Unsplash

Ireland directs 169 million euros for climate transition in peat-dependent "midlands"

Ireland directs 169 million euros for climate transition in peat-dependent "midlands"

The region has a rich and old tradition in the extraction of this fuel, which forms a significant part of local economies

This week, Ireland’s Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan announced a budget of 169 million euros which should help the country’s so-called ‘midlands’ to transition away from the carbon-intensive fossil energy industry.

This region in Ireland is traditionally associated with peat mining, which is used to create both heat and electricity and is also a fossil fuel. However, as the country has committed to reaching climate neutrality, this staple Irish industry and traditional pastime will come to an end.

Consequently, the funding is aimed at transitioning these regions towards new industries, to ensure they do not face long-term adverse economic effects due to job loss, comparable to various examples in coal regions throughout Europe.

Every place matters

The funding to kick off the process of the midlands moving away from peat in the next decade will come through the EU’s Just Transition Fund. Additionally, the Irish government has pledged to match the funds, totalling 169 million euros.

Regions that are set to benefit from the new funds are counties Longford, Offaly, Westmeath, Laois, Roscommon and parts of Galway, Kildare and Tipperary. The funds will enable these communities to benefit from the rise in new green jobs, both in wind and solar energy.

Additionally, these regions could also develop in terms of decarbonising local transport and the roll-out of new enterprises, as well as sustainable agriculture and forestry. A big emphasis for the new fund is an added care towards small and medium-sized businesses and start-ups.

Minister Ryan also underlined the importance of addressing rural communities, to support a more just distribution of resources. He was quoted in a press statement saying that every community and every place matters.

Finally, a sizable portion of the funding should go towards restoring the damaged and degraded ecosystems of the peatlands, as well as repurposing industrial heritage assets in these areas.



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