Farm organisations urged to ‘come together’ for written agreement with BNM

Farm organisations are being urged to “come together” and reach a written agreement with Bord na Móna (BNM) to resolve farmer concerns over its peatland rehabilitation projects in the midlands.

Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice has said that a commitment has been given by BNM to engage with farm organisations to address these issues.

Since the rehabilitation plan was announced in November, farmer representatives, as well as a number of rural-based politicians, have raised fears that the rewetting of bogs may impact on adjacent farmland through flooding.

Following a meeting with BNM officials, Fitzmaurice said that the company “are committed to maintaining their land bank and boundary drains”.

The Roscommon-Galway TD added that BNM committed to monitor the bogs even after the rehabilitation work is completed.

“They noted that they are liaising with various farm organisations and community groups to allay any fears out there in relation to the rehabilitation project. With a designated community liaison officer, BNM are willing to openly engage with anyone who wishes to raise a question or concern,” Fitzmaurice indicated.

However, he argued that “it would be prudent” for a written agreement to be in place between BNM and farm organisations which, he said, “would bring a sense of clarity to the entire situation”.

The point was made that the rehabilitation works…would be focused primarily on the drains within the production fields and that a buffer zone would be left between the boundary of neighbouring lands and the rehabilitation work.

Fitzmaurice also noted that a commitment was given that water pumps in place at BNM bogs would not be turned off if doing so would affect adjoining land.

Concluding, the TD said: “I urge all of the farm organisations to come together as one to reach an agreement with Bord na Móna which will disperse any fears out there.”