Merger between Bord na Móna and Coillte to take another two years

The proposed partial merger between Bord na Móna and State forestry body, Coillte is expected to take another two years or so to fully implement.

The plan, mooted last year but formally announced just last month, is still in the early stages , but will ultimately see the two bodies team-up on wind farm, biomass, tourism and support services projects.

However, at the publication of Bord na Móna’s latest annual report yesterday, chief financial officer Michael Barry suggested it was likely the full process would only be completed over a two-year period. Both bodies have welcomed the plan; Bord na Móna yesterday saying it is right that the State should look to optimise its resources.

In the meantime, Bord na Móna is likely to further reduce its employee headcount this year. Managing director, Gabriel D’Arcy, yesterday noted that the group has been in transformation mode for the past five years.

At peak times (catering for the peat-processing season), the group’s headcount stands at around 2,400 employees. The last couple of years have seen the group cut around 100 people from its feedstock/peat processing division and Mr D’Arcy said there would be further job reductions this year, mainly in that area. However, he stressed that the bulk of that would arise from natural attrition rather than any large-scale, short-term redundancy programme.

Also asked yesterday about the recently-criticised appointments of former Labour councillor, Denis Leonard and ex-Fine Gael TD John Farrelly — both of whom missed out in the recent local elections — to the group’s board, Bord na Móna chairman John Horgan said both were “excellent appointments” with a lot of industry knowledge, and each would make a “very significant and positive contribution to decision-making.”

Bord na Móna also said yesterday that continuing progress is being made on its other notable joint-venture — the Oweninny windfarm in Co Mayo — which is being developed with the ESB


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