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25/07/2021

Longford Leader Farming: Farmers are not going to be fobbed off over bog rewetting

'Living Bog' project launched in Offaly

A leading ICMSA chief has warned Bord na Móna and other State departments that farmers won't be "fobbed off" when it comes to bog rewetting

The Chairperson of ICMSA’S Farm & Rural Affairs Committee has said that the disquiet felt by farming communities neighbouring the enormous Bord na Móna Midlands’ Rewetting Project will not be settled until the proposal is anchored in a public plan, underpinned by appropriate legislation and with guarantees against resultant damage to adjoining private property.

Denis Drennan said that until it was, the main obstacle to the progression of the proposal – the need for a clear guarantee against damage to adjoining private farmland - could not be properly dealt with.

“The Government and Bord na Móna seem to think that some kind of vague ‘sure we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it’ is going to be enough to mollify the neighbouring farmers whose land will be threatened by the project.

"They had the opportunity to put this on a statutory basis in this Climate Action Bill and the fact that they didn’t looks very much like they don’t want to do anything that puts then under a legal obligation in relation to the Bog Rewetting Project”, said Mr Drennan.

He added, “It’s hugely important that Bord na Móna and the various departments and agencies involved in the Rewetting Project understand one thing: farmers are not going to be fobbed off by some unenforceable assurance that has no legal basis.

"That’s not fair and it’s not going to happen. The fact that they had a chance to give the Bog Rewetting that legal basis and chose not to is problematic and suspicious.

"We think that this decision is very revealing and farmers will be drawing the appropriate conclusions.”

Mr Drennan said that if the concept of a ‘Just Transition’ had any meaning at all then the Midlands’ Bog Rewetting was a perfect example to show a practical application.

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