Independent TD for Laois Offaly Carol Nolan has said that farmers are losing patience at the unwillingness or inability of Bord na Mona (BNM) and the Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan to provide explicit written guarantees aimed at addressing concerns relating to BNM’s bog rewetting programme.
Deputy Nolan was speaking after having engaged with farmers in Co. Offaly and the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA) following a decision by Minister Ryan not to attend a public meeting on the issue in Tullamore.
BNM is in the process of rewetting in excess of 30,000 hectares of bog at a number of sites throughout the Midlands region:
“Almost two years ago to the day I wrote to Bord na Mona Chief Executive Tom Donnellan requesting the company provide a written agreement to farmers who have land adjacent to or within the vicinity of any bog being subjected to the rewetting process,” said Deputy Nolan.
“That has not happened despite the ongoing potential for flooding which may emerge as part of the rewetting process. Farmers in Offaly and beyond are, quite rightly, extremely annoyed about that.”
“I accept that there has been some degree of consultation and that some hydrological risk assessments have been undertaken-but the fact remains that these gestures will offer no comfort to farmers who will remain personally and financially liable when it comes to addressing flood damage to their property and land.”
“The farmers I am talking to are pragmatic and reasonable people but they need more than warm words and ‘assurances.’ They need guarantees that they and their farms and livelihoods will be protected and supported in the event of flooding from the rewetting process. That is the bare minimum that they deserve 2-years on,” concluded Deputy Nolan.