Local Fine Gael Councillor, John Dolan, has criticised the logic of Bord Na Mona not being allowed to sell harvested peat to both the agriculture and horticulture sectors.
“I fully accept that the burning of peat for the production of electricity has been stopped and this will be a big blow to the economy of the Midlands, but peat is also a very important product for both the horticulture and agriculture sectors, but the fact is that there is a large stock of peat already harvested on Irish bogs.
“We have been using peat as a bedding material for the last number of years as sometimes straw can be both expensive and hard to source and find it a great product. We have always sourced this locally and when the bedding was cleaned out it was broadcast on our farm as farmyard manure.
“However, this year we could not source peat locally from Bord Na Mona, so we ordered peat from an Irish company. When the peat was delivered I enquired where it was from, and to my amazement I was told that the peat was imported from Europe.
“How can it make sense to be bringing peat to my farm from Europe because of carbon emissions and any amount of the product that we need is within a two mile radius from my home. We are delighted to receive the peat load and it is of very good quality, but why not let us use what is harvested here first.
“There is also a move to encourage the shredding of straw which will leave this alternative hard to get. It brings to mind the phrase ‘selling oil to the Arabs’ when Ireland has to import peat for its own use.
“Together with my colleague Cllr Farrell, we have brought this issue to the attention of our local MEP Maria Walsh who is committed to raise this at a European level. Common sense has to prevail on his matter as the carbon emissions from harvested peat are minimal,” Cllr Dolan asserted.
Glynwood Bog Dumping Not Welcome
Meanwhile, the Fine Gael Councillor has branded the widespread dumping in the bog in Glynwood “a disgrace”.
“I was recently contacted by a person from Athlone, who regularly goes walking in the Glynwood bog vicinity with regard to persistent dumping in the location so I agreed to meet with the person and view it for myself.
“I was shown multiple black bin bags full of rubbish and much which could have been recycled, there was also dumped furniture and old mattresses. I have reported this to the Council, but subsequently last Saturday the local community in Glynwood organised a litter pick and during this we discovered a large amount of household rubbish which was just dumped at the other end of the bog. Everyone was just disgusted at what we saw and I have reported this also.
“It is wrong that people feel that they can just dump their rubbish for someone else to look after it. The litter pick on Saturday had a great turnout, but we have to stand up to blatant large scale dumping and if the perpetrators are found they should pay for the full cost of the clean up and I will be looking for a proactive approach from Westmeath County Council to this scourge on our countryside,” Cllr Dolan concluded.