C: Carol Nolan TD & Jed Owen via Unsplash

Farmers fear that Bord na Móna rewetting will flood fields

Farmers and landowners have told a Dáil briefing that plans by Bord na Móna to rewet 80,000 acres of drained peatlands has what one TD described as a “massive potential” to “severely undermine farm incomes and the capacity of land to produce food.”

The briefing, organised by Independent TD, Carol Nolan, heard that hundreds of farmers whose lands adjoin the Bord Na Móna site in the midlands have sought written assurances that and damage to their lands will be remedied if they become flooded by the rewetting project.

The Laois Offaly TD welcomed what she called “the constructive and wide cross-party support” received for the briefing she facilitated on behalf of The Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA).

The aim of the briefing, that was attended by Minister of State Malcolm Noonan, was to highlight the ongoing concerns that farmers have with respect to the absence of any form of guarantees from Bord na Mona and other state agencies involved in the rewetting, and specifically that these agencies would “make good and repair any damage to neighbouring farms and communities caused by their rewetting of approx. 80,000 acres of land all throughout the region.”

The Independent reported that “Bord na Móna has said it will adjust its rewetting plans where a risk of flooding on adjoining land is identified, but the company stops short of agreeing to fix any damage that might happen.”

Offaly farmer Michael Guinan said what he and other landowners were asking for was fair and proportionate.

“We never once asked for a red cent in compensation,” he told a gathering of TDs and senators in Leinster House.

“What we wanted was a written, signed agreement that should our land become unfarmable, Bord na Móna or their successor would do remedial work and restore it. A sheet of paper with a signature is all we want.”

Mr Guinan said the stand-off with Bord na Móna had made him wary of the project.

“Bord na Móna tell us their hydrologists have done risk assessments and there will be no problem,” he said. “If they’re as confident in their hydrologists as they say, why not give us a guarantee?”

Deputy Nolan praised the ICMSA and the farmers who attended the briefing for their clear and oftentimes emotional contributions that articulated in no uncertain terms the anxiety that the issue is creating within rural communities.

“The entire objective of the ICMSA is to place special emphasis on preserving the family farm structure and defending the rights and incomes of farm families. That aligns exactly with my own priorities regarding the issues and the challenges around rewetting in Offaly and beyond,” said Deputy Nolan.

“I am not interested in sowing division on this matter, but I am very interested in highlighting the massive potential that rewetting of land has to severely undermine farm incomes and the capacity of the land to produce food for future generations, or even being available for future generations.”

“The briefing I organised was exceptionally well-attended from members from various political party’s along with a strong independent presence. This tells me that people are alert to the potential dangers for farmers who will be impacted. It is Offaly and the Midlands today, but it could well be every other county tomorrow or next year.”

“We must see movement on the written guarantee that is being requested and we must see progress on meaningful engagement with communities and farm families and not just a box-ticking consultation process,” Deputy Nolan concluded.



Share mdi-share-variant mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-printer mdi-chevron-left Prev Next mdi-chevron-right Related
Comments are closed

Do you support the Governments plans to put calorie labels on wine bottles?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...