Bus and retail workers may be included in pandemic bonus – Ryan

Energy situation in Ireland will be ‘tight’ in coming years, Green Party leader says

Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan has suggested bus and retail workers should be considered for any pandemic bonus.

The Coalition has indicated its willingness to reward healthcare workers for their efforts during the pandemic. An announcement will be made in the coming budget. It may take the form of a cash payment or extra leave.

Gardaí have also suggested that they should be considered for an extra payment because of their exposure to the virus during the pandemic.

Mr Ryan said the Government is reviewing the situation, but he suggested that gardaí could be included along with bus workers and retail staff all of whom had shown “real leadership” throughout the pandemic.


Speaking at the National Museum of Ireland where he was launching an exhibition marking 175 years of the Irish Geological Survey, Mr Ryan said no date had yet been decided upon for an extra bank holiday.


Mr Ryan acknowledged the energy situation in Ireland will be "very tight" over the coming years and especially in the coming weeks with two gas-fired power stations, at Whitegate in Co Cork and Huntstown in Co Dublin, still out of commission. They account for 15 per cent of installed conventional generation capacity.

“We have a path. We know what we need to do. It’s both regulating demand and supply. No one industry is going to expand massively and make it impossible for us to meet our climate targets or to keep energy security,” he said.

Supplies will be met, he continued, by developing renewable power supplies, especially off-shore wind, as Ireland’s territorial ocean area is 10 times that of the land area. “There is real potential for us to tap into that, not just energy but transport, heat and a whole range of different needs. As we develop that, we need balancing power and that will be battery.”

He described Bord na Móna’s development of Ireland’s first dedicated renewable energy business park as “hugely significant”.

It is going to be developed on 3,000 hectares of its landbank in Meath, Offaly and Westmeath.

It is expected to potentially co-locate more than 200 megawatts of renewable electricity directly beside businesses locating in the energy park. The electricity will be generated from renewable sources such as wind, solar, energy storage and green hydrogen production.

Bord na Móna is looking to attract high-demand energy users such as large-scale distribution facilities and data centres.

“Bord na Móna is showing the way forward for what we need to do. We will have a very tight situation for the next two to three years while we build up some of those battery and gas-fired back-up systems,” Mr Ryan explained.

In relation to energy-hungry data centres he said no businesses will be allowed to build in Ireland if they do not meet Ireland’s climate targets.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times