Grant funding of just under €230,000 has been approved to 25 local community groups and organisations for a variety of peatland related projects across Ireland.

The funding was approved by Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform Malcolm Noonan yesterday (February 22).

Announcing the funding under the Peatlands Community Engagement Scheme, which has been operating for the last number of years, the minister said that he was “delighted to see the diverse range of initiatives put forward by such active community and volunteer groups and environmental organisations”.

The minister praised the amount of high-quality applications received for 2021 and the geographic spread – with projects in 15 counties set to benefit.

Projects to benefit include five in Roscommon, four in Galway, two in Westmeath and Laois and one apiece in counties Kildare, Offaly, Kerry, Clare, Cavan, Monaghan, Dublin, Carlow, Wicklow, Tipperary and Louth.

Commenting, the minister of state said:

“The high volume and quality of applications to the scheme shows just how much communities care about and value their local peatlands, and how much enthusiasm there is across the country for local people to work together to protect, explore and enjoy these precious habitats.

“These kinds of bottom-up initiatives are inspiring and I’m proud to have the opportunity to support them.”

This funding allocation is a two-fold increase on last year’s allocation to the scheme, according to the Department of Housing, Local Government and Housing.

It will support various projects in local peatland areas from boardwalks, maintenance of bog trails, peatland restoration plans, information signage and way finder markers, the surveying of bog habitats and birds, promotional material and publications, oral history projects, invasive species control and peatland education programmes to nature awareness, wellness and sensory experiences.

Praising the peatland work being done by communities and organisations, Minister Noonan said:

“I know from my own experience that hands-on local action can have enormous positive impacts – not just for nature and biodiversity, but also for people in terms of physical and mental health and wellbeing.

“Investments in nature deliver enormous social value, which is especially important in these challenging times.”