SIPTU has highlighted the threat to over 250 jobs from the ongoing uncertainty concerning planning permission for the Bord na Móna power plant in Edenderry, Co. Offaly. SIPTU Organiser and Bord na Móna Group of Unions Secretary, John Regan, said: “There is a planning application pending in relation to the continued operation of Edenderry Power Ltd (EPL) following a High Court decision last year to overturn the judgement of An Bord Pleanála that it could continue to function. “Our concern is firstly with employment for existing workers at the plant and the impact that a negative outcome to the planning process could have for the wider economy in the Midlands, which is yet to see any significant recovery. Closure of the Edenderry plant would lead directly to 250 to 300 job losses. There are two other power stations facing similar issues, which means up to 1,300 other jobs could be at risk with a similar number of jobs threatened from the indirect consequences of their closure. He added: “SIPTU members are confident that the company does have a viable plan and long term strategy for the Edenderry plant. The Bord na Móna plan deals with all environmental aspects of its industrial use of peat lands that have already been drained for several decades. “As part of its plan, Bord na Móna intends to become a significant player in the renewable energy sector on the island of Ireland. It envisages the development of a biomass industry which will replace its traditional peat energy business by 2030. Biomass use in the Edenderry plant is currently at 35% (350,000 tones) and will rise to 50% (500,000 tones) by 2020 and it intends to continue to reduce the use of peat thereafter. The plan is to also replicate this development at the company’s other two peat burning power stations.”