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Wrightbus eyes role in Republic of Ireland's green transport revolution

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Opportunity: Jo Bamford

Opportunity: Jo Bamford

Opportunity: Jo Bamford

Wrightbus owner Jo Bamford is eager to meet Irish Green Party leader Eamon Ryan to explore how the Ballymena firm can help the Republic implement a zero-emission transport plan.

Mr Bamford, whose company acquired the troubled coachbuilder last year, told Dublin's Sunday Business Post there was a massive opportunity to build a green transport eco-system across the island.

Mr Bamford, son of Lord Bamford, chairman of machinery giant JCB, is a long-standing advocate of hydrogen fuel cells to provide clean, green power for bus transport.

Green leader Mr Ryan is Minister of Transport in the new coalition government in Dublin led by Fianna Fail Taoiseach Micheal Martin.

The Wrightbus chief thinks Mr Ryan has a major opportunity to shift the Republic's public transport system away from dependence on fossil fuels.

"I can't image there's any other Green Party politician who is Minister for Transport in their own country," Mr Bamford told the newspaper.

"He has the biggest opportunity to now go to zero-emission solutions quickly.

"I looked at all the bus depots in Ireland, we've looked at what the replacement rate of the bus fleet is, looked at batteries or hydrogen.

"We'll put the infrastructure in, we'll put the planning in, charging stations in, we'll upgrade the grid, we'll do all that sort of work

"Wouldn't it be lovely to have a zero-emissions solution that's in all of the buses on the island of Ireland?

"You've got wind, you've got water, you take your wind and your water - that's all it takes to make hydrogen.

"The really cool thing about Ireland is that it's big, but it's not too big. Big enough that you can get volume, but small enough that you can make significant change.

"In London there are 74 bus depots; there are five in Dublin."

Wrightbus, a world leader in hydrogen-powered bus technology, employs around 550 in Ballymena following Mr Bamford's purchase of the firm last year.

New double decker hydrogen buses designed and made by Wrightbus will take to the streets of London and Aberdeen later this year.

Mr Bamford also owns Ryse Hydrogen, which is working on the creation of a green hydrogen ecosystem for the production, distribution and dispensing of clean hydrogen fuel for buses, lorries, heating, shipping and more.

Belfast Telegraph