Ciaran McDonald

Dairy farmer, Ballycumber, Co Offaly

“We would have almost 60ac right beside Bord na Móna land so I’m very worried for the future of this farm if I was unable to farm that land because of the rewetting of Bord na Móna bogs.

“There is a main drain between the farm and Bord na Móna which drains away the water. I need to know will this main drain be blocked or left intact? Will Bord na Móna construct a secondary drainage system and dams inside the main drain to facilitate the rewetting of the land? Because if they block the main drain between my land and Bord na Móna it is going to have a major impact on this farm and many other farms in the area.

“If they don’t block the main drain there shouldn’t be a problem. That being said, peat is peat. Farmers beside Bord na Móna need to know whether the rewetting of bogs will leak water into other areas of land. We need to be sure of the full impact and consequences of rewetting before the process is started.

“I haven’t had any information or contact from Bord na Móna, Government agencies or semi-State bodies about the planned rewetting programme.

“I’m not against rewetting peat soils or any of the other environmental actions that farmers are going to be asked to do in the years ahead. But I am concerned about the impact the rewetting of Bord na Móna could have on this farm and other neighbouring farms if it’s not done correctly.”

Michael Guinan

Dairy farmer, Rahan, Co Offaly

“I’m farming land three or four miles as the crow flies from Boora bog. In the 1940s and 1950s when Bord na Móna dried out the bogs it had a good effect on areas of our farm,” he said.

Guinan is concerned that the water levels will fill up again due to the rewetting process. “We’re that far away from it we’d have no comeback. Nobody knows where water goes.

“Bog is bog. Water finds its way around. This is not just a farmer issue. When water levels rise will it have an effect on septic tanks?”

He believes Bord na Móna is only paying “lip service” with verbal agreements. “Somebody has to be held accountable to manage these lands. We need a written commitment that someone is going to be responsible for the drains and keeping them flowing.

“This is only greenwashing. We are not anti-environment. We want to ensure farmers’ livelihoods are protected. Can they not put it on hold until they can hold public meetings?”

Pat O’Brien Dairy farmer, Ballycommon, Co Offaly

“I farm land right beside Bord na Móna land. It’s not up for rewetting at the moment, but I imagine it will be. Even farmers that are not beside Bord na Móna bogs are going to be affected.

“If farmers A, B and C lose 70ac to the impacts of rewetting, they’re going to want to replace that. That will cut the supply of land and drive up rental costs.

“We need a written agreement that they will keep drains open. A lot of people don’t see the bigger picture and when it all blows up, there’ll be nothing in writing.”

Richard Scally

Offaly IFA chair

“Farmers’ main concerns are the threat of waterlogging and flooding on their own land neighbouring Bord na Móna bogs. If the bogs are rewetted, the water could leach out to this land. There is a big concern that these lands will be wet all year round.

“Farmers are concerned it will affect the value of their land and there are a lot of people with turf-cutting rights – how are they going to be affected?”