Fears locals will lose out to ‘white van brigade’

White van

The “white van brigade” could lose out.

COUNCILLORS have raised concerns over incentives and jobs opportunities in the major Gas to the West scheme.

Speaking at the monthly Fermanagh and Omagh District Council meeting on Tuesday night, UUP Councillor Howard Thornton said he has not received an answer of what incentives or subsidies will be for people and businesses to switch over to using natural gas.


With the promise of new jobs in the scheme, Cllr Thornton wants to see efforts to train local people to fit the gas lines.

He suggested the Council contact South West College to see if courses could be provided to allow local people to gain the necessary certificates to carry out this work, otherwise he said it will be a case of the “white van brigade coming down the M1” with local people missing out on this opportunity.

Cllr Thornton also stated there is a huge management issue regarding the laying of these pipes and stated there needed to be assurances that whatever is dug up for pipes is properly replaced.

He suggested writing to the relevant groups and suppliers to answer some of these queries.

This was seconded by Cllr Josephine Deehan who said it was important people west of the province receive equal treatment.

Cllr Sorcha McAnespy emphasised that “local jobs for local people” must be a priority.

Sinn Fein’s Cllr Sheamus Greene said he felt rural people will not benefit from the new pipeline.


“Maybe we can come up with another scheme burning woodchips and maybe subsidise it so that for every £1 burnt the user gets £1.60, but probably not as that is absolutely ridiculous,” he joked.

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