The IFA has received assurances from Bord na Móna that it won’t be simply flooding bogs under its rewetting plans.
Brian Rushe, IFA deputy president, said that farmers bordering and near Bord na Móna bogs are wondering what the rewetting process will mean for them.
“For years they have spent money upgrading and reclaiming land, and they relied on the free draining of water through Bord na Móna land.
“If there is a blockage downstream, will there be a rising water table on their land? Will it make their land wetter and reverse the work done on farms?” he said.
We have received assurances that this rewetting was not just going to be ad-hoc
Rushe said that the IFA met with Bord na Móna before Christmas and raised farmer concerns with them.
“We have received assurances that this rewetting was not just going to be ad-hoc. They aren’t going to be just flooding bogs and we have received assurances that neighbouring farmland will not be affected.
“Bord na Móna owns land in eight counties. We’re making submissions on all the sites they’re rewetting,” he said.
Rushe added that a working group has been set up with IFA and Bord na Móna to liaise and raise farmer concerns at the highest level.
The ICMSA is going to insist that actions Bord na Móna carries out on its land cannot be allowed “degrade or destroy the productivity and value” of private farms that border the Bord na Móna bogs.
We’re not being cynical, but we can’t afford to be naïve either
ICMSA farm and rural affairs committee chair Denis Drennan has said: “I don’t think anyone could conclude that that is an unreasonable position and, with all due respect to Bord na Móna, we don’t think that the farms around the bogs in question can afford to just take anyone’s word for matters that are so fundamental as this.
“We’re not being cynical, but we can’t afford to be naïve either,” he said.
The ICMSA has written to Bord na Móna proposing that an independent baseline survey be carried out, a pre-wetting snapshot, in advance of the rewetting project.
Drennan said the report should be independent and should set out the condition and infrastructure of the affected areas before any work connected with the rewetting commences.