Bord na Mona’s decision to suspend peat harvesting operations has been described as yet another broken promise to emplouyees by independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice.
Earlier today BNM announced that it would commence work on its Enhanced Peatland Rehabilitation Scheme (EPRS), which will reportedly involve work on 65,000ha of its bogs this summer.
The company claims that this will provide clarity for employees who have been concerned by the ongoing uncertainty surrounding peat harvesting since last year’s High Court Case.
Speaking on the matter, Fitzmaurice said: “The truth of the matter is that employees are being let down once again. Yet another promise is being broken.
“It was indicated late in 2019 that peat would continue to be harvested in 2020. But red tape and bureaucracy delayed An Bord Pleanala’s eventual decision to grant BNM leave to apply for substitute consent to harvest peat this year.
“BNM has relented due to the constant legal challenges it faces from certain environmental lobby groups.
“It is ironic that on the day when BNM makes this announcement, it also emerges that An Bord Pleanala has seemingly given permission for the Derryadd windfarm to proceed in Co. Longford.
“It’s likely that significant amounts of peat will have to be excavated from this bog just to put in foundations for the proposed turbines – but yet the milling of peat cannot go ahead for another summer, as was previously promised.
“In what type of world are some environmentalists living? It appears as if some aren’t even bothered about the fact that people will lose their jobs.
“Let no one kid themselves. No matter how many turbines are erected, it won’t replace the number of local jobs that have been and will be lost moving forward. There may be an initial boost during the construction phase, but that will soon disappear.
“Some of these environmentalists who are telling the people of Ireland what we need to do have allowed peat to be fully extracted in other countries.
“It is also ironic that milled peat is now being brought in to Ireland by the boatload in order to service the horticulture sector – which is the same as bringing oil to an oil well,” he concluded.
Michael Fitzmaurice TD 086-1914565