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€15,000 payment on cards for landowners in Galway bog conservation scheme

Restoration scheme will provide payment to allow access and works on Derringlough Bog 


Back to life: Sphagnum moss growing in a restored bog

Back to life: Sphagnum moss growing in a restored bog

Back to life: Sphagnum moss growing in a restored bog

Landowners in the National Heritage Area (NHA) of Derrinlough Bog in Co Galway may be entitled to a €15,000 payment under a new conservation scheme.

The Protected Raised Bog Restoration Incentive Scheme, to be introduced by the National Parks and Wildlife Service and managed by Bord na Móna (BNM), will provide payment to eligible landowners and turbary right holders in the area to allow access and works on private lands not part of any other compensation scheme.

The area-based once-off payment rate under the scheme is €1,450/ha (with a minimum payment of €1,000 and a maximum of €15,000) to be made by the Department of Housing. Notification letters issued to landowners and turbary holders in or near the NHA said: “The Department is also willing to purchase lands in certain cases, or enter into land management agreements where, for example, lands are being seasonally grazed, subject to certain conditions”.

It comes as farmers continue to demand “written agreements” from BNM regarding its €108m peatlands rehabilitation programme which aims to convert 80,000ha of bog into a carbon sink.

Up to 38 State-owned bogs are expected to be rewetted under the scheme by the end of 2022, with signs of protected insects and rare birds already establishing on numerous sites. An estimated 8000ha of peatland was rewetted last year during year one of the programme.

A BNM spokesperson said: “The restoration and rehabilitation of peatlands is creating rich and diverse habitats for our native plant and animal species.

“Examples of the impact on biodiversity of this work includes Ireland’s only protected insect, the Marsh Fritillary butterfly colonising on Bord na Móna cutaway bogs and is now found in numerous sites.

“We are visiting homeowners living
within 1km of the bogs, providing information to interested stakeholders and arranging site visits.”

However, ICMSA President Pat McCormack contends that Bord na Móna “has not made direct contact with neighbouring farmers”.

“Bord na Móna have sent details of each bog rewetting project to ICMSA which we have forwarded onto the relevant county executives and officers.

“There is general unhappiness among farmers that their concerns are not being listened to and there are no written commitments to protect their position on what is a major land use change.

“A written agreement is important so that if issues do arise, a farmer can have confidence that the matter will be addressed in a timely fashion.”

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