Green Party welcomes ‘historic’ BNM decision

The Green Party has welcomed the decision this week from Bord na Móna to cease peat harvesting and move onto working on its Enhanced Peatland Rehabilitation Scheme (EPRS).

The party referred to the decision as “an historic moment in our country’s relationship with peat”.

“This announcement is a welcome start of this decade of change, as we shift away from peat as a source of carbon emissions, to peat as carbon storage and sequestration,” remarked Pippa Hackett, a senator and the Green Party’s spokesperson on agriculture.

However, the Co. Offaly based senator raised concern for the Bord na Móna workers who are affected.

“We especially welcome the commitment that all employees will be retained for the vital work of re-wetting and restoring our bogs. This is what we all mean when we refer to a ‘Just Transition’,” Hackett said.

“However, we continue to urge Bord na Móna to heed the concerns of their workers and union representatives, and to keep them in the loop in any decisions and actions. There is still uncertainty there about the long-term future job prospects in this area, and ultimately this needs to be secured,” she added.

Notwithstanding these concerns, Hackett said: “I look forward to the transformation of thousands of hectares of bogs in the midlands, and I look forward to our shared future as we transition to a clean, low-carbon way of life.”

The Green Party senator claimed that the Bord na Móna decision would contribute to “finally beginning to deal, effectively and earnestly, with the climate and biodiversity crisis”.

“The new economic opportunities offered by the re-wetting and restoration of our bogs must be realised – from job retention, further job opportunities, and quality of life improvements,” Hackett said.

She concluded: “The potential to use re-wetted bogs as an important amenity for local communities and tourists, as well as providing vital ecological services of water management and habitat creation, cannot be overlooked.”