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Wettest summer in 75 years cost Bord na Mona €21.1m in 2012

STATE-OWNED turf company Bord na Mona has revealed the extent of last year's catastrophic peat harvest, which saw yields slashed by nearly two thirds.

Newly released accounts show the wettest summer in 75 years cost the company €21.1m, forcing it to cut jobs and reign in spending. About 100 seasonal employees lost their jobs while 90 full-timers had their hours cut.

The “catastrophic” harvest also damaged the quality of peat supplies, which incurred a fine from the ESB.

The company only managed to meet consumer demand by relying on its reserves. It typically has two years worth of peat in reserve, but these are now heavily eroded.

“We had just enough last year to meet demand” said chief executive Gabriel D'Arcy, discussing the results yesterday.

The semi-state's fortunes have now turned around with the unusually good summer of 2013. “This year we will completely replenished our stocks” said Mr D'Arcy. 2013’s harvest has already exceeded its target, with another two months to go.

Turnover in the year ending March was up 11pc to €426m, despite the poor peat harvest. Sales were boosted by healthy fuel sales because of the prolonged winter.

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