Westmeath Greens welcome funding for local community peatland initiative schemes

Local Green Party Councillors, Louise Heavin and Hazel Smyth, have welcomed the announcement of funding for local and community peatlands projects, totalling €14,950.

The Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan TD, approved grant funding of just under €230,000 to 25 local community groups and organisations across Ireland under the Peatlands Community Engagement Scheme, doubling last year’s allocation.

Cllr. Louise Heavin, Westmeath Heritage Forum Chairperson, welcomed the investment in the county’s heritage peatlands.

“It is brilliant to see community action around our natural heritage in Westmeath. Both Moate Action Group and ETHOS are big assets to our communities and projects like this will encourage us all to get out and appreciate our local natural heritage ANDI am delighted that both groups were successful in their applications.

“The projects funded by the Scheme include an allocation of €10,000 for the Moate Action Group Project, which will involve hosting a seminar of experts on our natural and built heritage, compiling a book and erecting information signage, while €4,950 has been allocated towards the ETHOS (Everything Tyrellspass Has On Show ) project, which will involve survey and mapping of Cloncrow Bog to inform the development of a proposed boardwalk.

“The funding will support various projects in local peatland areas from boardwalks, maintenance of bog trails, peatland restoration plans, the surveying and control of bog habitat, promotional material and publications, oral history projects, and peatland education programmes,” Cllr Heavin remarked.

The thoughts of the local Green Party Councillor were echoed by Minister of State, Deputy Troy.

“I welcome the funding of €10,000 for Moate Action Group and €4,050 ETHOS Tyrrellspass. Both these groups provide a brilliant service for their local communities. In the case of Moate Action Group they support local groups in the area in linking up with the local authority and maximising grant and funding opportunities available to showcase Moate at its best, while ETHOS also promotes the very best that Tyrrellspass has to offer.

“These local groups have positively impacted the mental and physical wellbeing of people and it shows that investing in nature deliver enormous social value, which is especially important in these challenging times,” Deputy Troy commented.

Nationally, this funding allocation - a two-fold increase on last year’s allocation to the scheme - will support various projects in local peatland areas from boardwalks, maintenance of bog trails, peatland restoration plans, information signage and way finder markers, the surveying of bog habitats and birds, promotional material and publications, oral history projects, invasive species control and peatland education programmes to nature awareness, wellness and sensory experiences.

Activities/projects funded under the scheme will be subject to adherence to public health COVID-19 pandemic guidelines and legislation and any other relevant statutory requirements.


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