WATCH | Longford and Lanesboro to feature in TV documentary on end of peat production

Longford Leader Reporter

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Longford's relationship with the bogs and the continued loss of jobs at Bord na Móna will feature prominently in an enthralling documentary on TG4 on Wednesday, February 5.

Gan Fód is a one-hour documentary for TG4 that tells the story of a changing Ireland and of our unique relationship with the bog. We ask what matters more, people and jobs or sustainability and the environment?

Also read: Longford Leader columnist Mattie Fox: Ireland’s health service is definitely in crisis

By 2027 Bord na Móna will cease peat harvesting. But with Climate change on everyone’s mind and Ireland facing massive fines with carbon tax this has been brought forward to 2020. With a “just transition” leaving workers in limbo what does this actually mean for the 1,500 employees that are left?

Set up in the 1930s, The Turf Development Board’s main aim was to generate fuel and electricity for our country, create employment and bring economic activity to rural Ireland. Since then Bord na Móna and the ESB have been the backbone of the
midlands communities.

Already 600 employees have applied for voluntary redundancies. It’s expected that a significant amount of jobs will go in the coming months. Most of these employees are men; their average age is over 50. Being replaced with unmanned wind turbines,
changing both the landscape and the economic future of the area indefinitely.

But is this about more than loss of jobs? What is it about the bogs that we hold dear? Is it a way of life? The documentary will introduce you to the people for whom these bogs provided not just an income but also helped form and connect communities, families and were a source of camaraderie. 

Eamonn O’Hanlon owner of The Mona Bar in Mount Lucas will speak about the knock-on effect that will be felt in towns and villages, schools and churches in the midlands. “The whole heart of rural Ireland is gone,” he says.

The documentary will also look at the ecology of the bogs and the future for so-called peat communities where the bog was the predominant place of work.

You can watch the documentary on TG4 television at 9.30pm on Wednesday, February 5.

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