BNM suspension of peat harvesting ‘adds to list of broken promises’

Bord na Móna’s decision to suspend peat harvesting operations has been described as “yet another broken promise to employees” who work in peat harvesting.

Yesterday, Tuesday, June 16, Bord na Móna announced that it will suspend peat harvesting and begin work on its Enhanced Peatland Rehabilitation Scheme (EPRS), which is expected to involve work on 65,000ha of bog.

Responding to the news, independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice claimed that: “The truth of the matter is that employees are being let down once again. Yet another promise is being broken.

It was indicated late in 2019 that peat would continue to be harvested in 2020. But red tape and bureaucracy delayed An Bord Pleanála’s eventual decision to grant BNM leave to apply for substitute consent to harvest peat this year.

“Bord na Móna has relented due to the constant legal challenges it faces from certain environmental lobby groups,” the Roscommon-Galway TD argued.

“It is ironic that on the day when BNM makes this announcement, it also emerges that An Bord Pleanala has seemingly given permission for the Derryadd windfarm to proceed in Co. Longford,” Fitzmaurice observed.

He continued that significant amounts of peat would have to be excavated from the bogland at Derryadd to lay foundations for wind turbines.

In what type of world are some environmentalists living? It appears as if some aren’t even bothered about the fact that people will lose their jobs.

“Let no one kid themselves. No matter how many turbines are erected, it won’t replace the number of local jobs that have been and will be lost moving forward. There may be an initial boost during the construction phase, but that will soon disappear.

“Some of these environmentalists who are telling the people of Ireland what we need to do have allowed peat to be fully extracted in other countries,” Fitzmaurice pointed out.

He concluded his remarks by highlighting: “It is also ironic that milled peat is now being brought into Ireland by the boatload in order to service the horticulture sector – which is the same as bringing oil to an oil well.”