Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan has today (Thursday, May 19) announced funding of €160,000 for peatland restoration initiatives nationwide.

Minister Noonan approved the first round of grant funding of just over €160,000 to 16 local community groups and organisations for peatland-related projects across Ireland.

Funding is provided under the Peatlands Community Engagement Scheme 2022, which encourages the conservation and revitalisation of fens, raised and blanket bogs in areas including Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) and Natural Heritage Areas (NHA).

Announcing the funding, Minister Noonan stated that he was delighted to see a diverse range of initiatives put forward. He added:

“Anyone who’s spent time in a healthy peatland knows what peaceful and serene places they are, and what they offer in terms of species diversity including rare species that have evolved to adapt to life in the bogs.”

The scheme will be open-ended in 2022 and allow for the submission of new applications this year, Minister Noonan said.

Several counties will benefit from this funding span, including projects based in Co. Galway, Westmeath, Kildare, Offaly, Mayo, Kerry, Cavan, Monaghan and Dublin.

Peatland restoration

Peatlands are vast carbon stores, sequestering on average approximately 2 tonnes of CO2/ha per year, however if peatland is dry or damaged, due to land-use change, peat extraction and drainage, it emits between 4-15 tonnes of CO2/ha per year.

Funding from the 2022 scheme supports peatland projects in many ways, including the development and maintenance of bog walking trails, visitor amenities, surveys, public outreach and education programmes.

Projects included in the first scheme round include the Cloghan Development Association in Co. Offaly which received €14,030 to create a 10km track to allow the local community to make use of boglands in a controlled and respectful way.

A sum €16,105 is provided to the Milltownpass Tidy Towns Committee in Co. Westmeath to support the purchase of bat, bird and owl nesting boxes, and to promote the Milltownpass Bog Natural Heritage area.

St Kilians Heritage Trust in Co. Cavan is to receive support of €23,798 to further develop awareness of the conservation of Killyconny Bog SAC, and to provide education on raised bogs and the need to conserve them.