Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Michael Moynihan TD, has expressed his concern for the future of the miscanthus industry in Ireland and the 100 jobs that are associated with it.
Deputy Moynihan has called on the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources to do more to provide an outlet for farmers who harvest miscanthus. Miscanthus is a biomass fuel that is grown in Ireland and is part of the drive to meet Ireland’s 2020 targets to increase renewable energy.
“The last Government established a REFIT initiative, which was a price scheme set-up to ensure the viability of the biomass industry. 6,000 acres of miscanthus is grown by over 300 farmers in Ireland.
“REFIT became law in 2012 but because it is a voluntary scheme, Bord Na Móna has not implemented it, which could spell disaster for these farmers. Many farmers have invested heavily in this crop and there are 100 jobs associated with the industry which now seems under serious threat.
“The 300 farmers believed that Bord Na Móna would take this crop but the company is now saying they will not do so. This is hugely concerning and there is a great deal of anxiety among farmers that their investment in this crop will come to nothing.
“Miscanthus is a renewable energy source and one that can be harvested in Ireland, which is very rare. Minister Rabbitte needs to take charge here and ascertain if there was an agreement between Bord Na Móna and the farmers for the crop. The Minister must also look to see if he can provide some support for these farmers and work with Bord na Móna to enter the REFIT scheme.”