Call for peatlands centre of excellence to be located in Longford

Fianna Fáil TD Joe Flaherty has urged Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan, to consider Lanesboro and Corlea Trackway Visitor Centre as a possible location for a new visitor centre and peatlands centre of excellence in the midlands.

The new €10 million project, which was announced by Minister Ryan, will provide a peatlands knowledge centre of excellence, a visitors’ centre and a range of supports for sustainable businesses as part of a new project funded by the European Commission.

The three main strands of the project are:

  • Establishment of a ‘Peatlands Knowledge Centre of Excellence’ that will “explore and carry out best practices in peatland restoration and rehabilitation”;
  • An immersive ‘People’s Discovery Attraction’ in the midlands that will reinforce the importance of climate action and peatlands rehabilitation;
  • Introduction of a range of supports for sustainable businesses.

Location of project

The locations of the centre of excellence and visitors’ centre have not been announced.

However, the Longford deputy has already made the case to the minister, stating: “Never has the case to base such a proposed facility in Co. Longford been more apparent. The ESB [is] intent on moving ahead with the demolition of a former power plant in Lanesboro.

“We also have the Corlea Trackway Interpretative Centre in nearby Kenagh, just eight miles from Lanesboro and the only thing that separates it and the disused power station is bogland which is serviced by a network of train tracks.

I know that Fáilte Ireland [is] also interested in aspects of the former power station, in terms of outdoor pursuits and adventure tourism and all of this would fit easily with the proposed venture.

“The Corlea facility is a hidden gem and were it to link with the proposed visitor centre and peatlands centre of excellence it would truly be transformative for the region,” deputy Flaherty added.

“I know that a number of sites will be looked at and any decision will hopefully be decided on the merit of the location but it would seem obvious at the outset that the Lanesboro / Corlea option has tremendous potential.”