Bord na Móna has been called on to provide a “written agreement” to farmers who have land adjacent to or within the vicinity of any bog being subjected to the rewetting process by one midlands TD.
Independent TD for Laois Offaly Carol Nolan has written to Bord na Mona chief executive Tom Donnellan requesting that such an agreement be given.
The letter also requests an identical agreement with respect to the preservation of turbary rights, the TD says.
Deputy Nolan went on to say that she had the “full backing of all the members of the Dáil Rural Independent Group”, of which she is a member.
“During the course of the Joint Committee on Agriculture debate on, March 2, committee members, non-members and farmer representative organisations raised a number of issues relating to Bord na Móna’s plans to rewet in excess of 30,000ha of bog.
Central to these concerns was the need for Bord na Móna to provide a written agreement to farmers who have land adjacent to or within the vicinity of any bog being subjected to the rewetting process and the impact this would also have on turbary rights.
The TD claimed that “it was clear” from the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Agriculture meeting, however, that while Bord na Móna was prepared to give assurances with respect to the continuation of its role a responsible steward of the land, “it was less inclined to provide a written agreement to this effect”.
“This has inevitably put people on the alert and has led to concerns that the company’s future actions will not match the present rhetoric of commitment to farmers,” deputy Nolan said.
“That is why I and my colleagues have sought an explicit written agreement as a vital good faith gesture and as a clear guarantee that Bord na Móna is willing to take on board the parallel duties of flood prevention and maintenance work, in the event that the rewetting process causes or escalates flooding damage on farm land.
From a Dáil Rural Independent Group member perspective, she added:
It is our view that any such agreement should also include a provision whereby, in the event that Bord na Móna is sold, equal legal duties around the protection of farm-land and turbary rights would be taken on by the purchaser.
“It is time for Bord na Móna to put its money where its mouth is,” concluded deputy Nolan.