Concerns over potential of flooded farmland in BNM rewetting plan

Following the announcement today (Tuesday, November 24) that cabinet had approved €108 million in funding for a bog rehabilitation plan in the midlands, one farm organisation has urged that farmers in the area be allowed to “continue to farm their land in a productive way”.

The Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA) said that it is “hugely important” that the position of landowners in these areas are taken into account in Bord na Móna’s (BNM’s) peatlands restoration project.

Denis Drennan, the association’s farm and rural affairs chairperson, insisted the BNM “will have to provide clear assurances that privately-owned farmland adjacent to the Bord na Móna sites will not be flooded or waterlogged as part of the projected plan of rewetting 80,000ac”.

Drennan said that BNM and the government “owe it to neighbouring farmers to explain what they’re doing and also to commit in a binding way to make good any damage to the conditions of the land owned by these farmers caused by the project”.

“We can’t have a situation where generations of work by farm families is destroyed by leakage from nearby Bord na Móna rewetting work,” the ICMSA representative cautioned.

“That’s not a lot to ask and we’re going to insist upon it before the project begins”, Drennan concluded.

‘Farmers must be consulted’

Denis Drennan is not the first to raise concerns of this nature.

Earlier today, Roscommon-Galway TD Michael Fitzmaurice argued that farmers need to be consulted in this project.

He said it is “imperative the farmers [who neighbour the] bogs…are consulted to ensure there is no negative impacts on their land as a result of the rehabilitation process”.

The TD acknowledged: “The funding announcement is very welcome. It ensures that up to 350 Bord na Móna workers who traditionally would have been involved in the harvesting of peat will be able to remain on.

“A common sense approach could avoid any potential problems arising down the line,” Fitzmaurice remarked.