If Bord na Móna is certain that there won’t be a problem with lands adjoining its bogs in the midlands, the semi-state body “should not have a problem putting this in writing”, according to the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA).

Speaking after a detailed meeting with Bord na Móna on the reasons and procedures around the proposed Bord na Móna rewetting project, ICMSA president Pat McCormack said that a lot of matters had been clarified.

While he acknowledged Bord na Mona’s commitment to work with adjoining landowners, McCormack pointed to an “inescapable contradiction” in the company’s position, stating:

“We accept that Bord na Móna think that there won’t be a problem with adjoining lands and that they sincerely want us all to proceed on that basis. But the inescapable contradiction in its position is this:

If there isn’t going to be a problem at some future stage, and if Bord na Móna is certain that there isn’t going to be a problem, then it won’t mind putting that certainty in writing along with a commitment to make good any damage that will result if it is proved wrong.

“Nobody’s doubting its good faith here or its expertise. All ICMSA and its members are saying is that if Bord na Móna is so certain about its project then it won’t – it can’t – object to signing an agreement based on that certainty,” McCormack said.

“That’s needed because I’m going to repeat what we said the very first day this was mooted: The day is long gone when farmers are going to take someone’s word on something as potentially significant as this project.

“I’m afraid we’re well past that now. We’re not going to be fools for anyone anymore. If Bord na Móna is as certain as it says, then it won’t mind putting its opinion in writing,” said McCormack stressed.

The president said that the Bord na Móna project is a hugely significant change of land in the midlands and a flagship project like this deserves clear written commitments to adjoining landowners that will stand the test of time and that will protect future generations of farmers.

McCormack welcomed the commitment from the Bord na Móna delegation to consider this matter internally and he expressed hope that the semi-state body will react positively to this proposal.