Latest Laois News: Two Laois Community Peatland Initiatives see funding doubled

Latest Laois News: Two Laois Community Peatland Initiatives see funding doubled

Abbeyleix Bog Project and Mountrath Scout Group see funding doubled

Minister of State Malcolm Noonan doubles grant funding for 25 community peatland initiatives across the country

Malcolm Noonan T.D., Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform today, (Monday 22 February), announced that he has approved grant funding of just under €230,000 to 25 local community groups and organisations for a variety of peatlands related projects across Ireland.

Minister Pippa Hackett had this to say about the announcement;

“Our relationship with the bog is changing from one of extraction to one of protection and it’s wonderful to see local groups in the Midlands finding a new appreciation for this fundamental part of our heritage. Under the Peatlands Community Engagement Scheme, the Abbeyleix Bog Project volunteers are receiving €12, 605 towards equipment and software to map 3,000 peat dams, while St. Brendan’s Community School in Offaly is to get €20,000 to upgrade the Killaun Bog looped walk. The Mountrath Scout Group are receiving €2,315 to run awareness and education days at Knockacoller Bog and toward wildlife cameras and drone surveys. I applaud the community groups who have applied for this funding and I look forward to seeing the results of their efforts.”

Announcing the funding under the Peatlands Community Engagement Scheme, which has been operating for the last number of years, Minister Noonan stated that he was delighted to see the diverse range of initiatives put forward by such active community and volunteer groups and environmental organisations. The Minister stated that the amount of high quality applications received for 2021 was impressive and he was delighted there was such a geographic spread – with projects in 15 counties set to benefit.

Photo of Pippa Hackett on Abbeyleix Bog
Pippa Hackett on Abbeyleix Bog recently

He said: “The high volume and quality of applications to the Scheme shows just how much communities care about and value their local peatlands, and how much enthusiasm there is across the country for local people to work together to protect, explore and enjoy these precious habitats. These kinds of bottom-up initiatives are inspiring and I’m proud to have the opportunity to support them.”

2021 sees two-fold funding increase compared to 2020

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.

The Minister went on to praise the important peatland work being done by communities and organisations;

“I know from my own experience that hands-on local action can have enormous positive impacts – not just for nature and biodiversity, but also for people in terms of physical and mental health and wellbeing. Investments in nature deliver enormous social value, which is especially important in these challenging times.”

Projects to benefit include five in Roscommon, four in Galway, two in Westmeath and Laois and one apiece in counties Kildare, Offaly, Kerry, Clare, Cavan, Monaghan, Dublin, Carlow, Wicklow, Tipperary and Louth.

Walkers at Abbeyleix Bog during a start up meeting for the new Abbeyleix Climate Action Project in partnership with Abbeyleix Tidy Towns.ÊThe initiative is supported by Creative Ireland Laois as part of the Creative Ireland Programme (2017-2022) in partnership with Laois County Council and Midlands Science. Picture: Alf Harvey.

The projects are as as follows:

Grants Awarded –  Peatlands Community Engagement Scheme 2021

OrganisationProject LocationDescription of ProjectGrant Awarded
 Abbeyleix Bog Project Co. LaoisTo procure equipment and software to develop skills amongst the Abbeyleix Bog Project volunteers and to use this to collect survey data and map over 3,000 peat dams that were installed.€12,605.33
 Cloonsellan Abbey Conservation Group Co. RoscommonTo carry out maintenance work under phase 4 of enhancement works to existing bog road at Clooncraff Bog Loop Walk (part of Lough Ree Special Area of Conservation (SAC), Co. Roscommon), installation of seating and a wicker sculpture.€13,831.20
Irish Peatlands Conservation Council  Co. KildareTo upgrade a bog boardwalk, viewing area and seat, install signage and seating and improve access. To deliver a volunteer work camp to clear scrub along the boundary of the nature reserve and offer educational visits to 15 schools/classes at Lodge Bog.€8,208.66
ETHOS (Everything Tyrellspass Has On Show)Co. WestmeathTo undertake surveys and mapping of Cloncrow Bog Natural Heritage Area to inform the development of a proposed boardwalk.€4,950.00
St. Brendan’s Community SchoolCo. OffalyTo upgrade existing wooden trackway at Killaun Bog looped walk.€20,000.00
NEWKD (North, East and West Kerry Development),Co. KerryTo design and print a brochure in respect of local history of the bogs in Kerry to include maps, history, types of peat, existing and potential future usage, habitats, wildlife and vegetation. €2,000.00 
Connolly Tidy VillagesCo. ClareTo continue the development of a looped bog walk to include a birdwatch hut and signage, to remove invasive species and host bog walks during the year.€5,200.00
Mount Allen ResidentsCo. RoscommonTo complete a peatland restoration plan and to undertake drain blocking works.€10,000.00
Kilteevan Tidy TownsCo. RoscommonTo publish the Cloonlarge Loop Walk Biodiversity Calendar 2022, the purchase and installation of fencing and gate and to install a living willow feature within Lough Ree Special Area of Conservation.€3,500.00
Portrun Development Association CLGCo. RoscommonTo carry out maintenance work, to purchase and install trail head signage with Q.R codes and to produce a brochure with map of walk within Lough Ree Special Area of Conservation.€10,000.00
St. Killians Heritage TrustCo. CavanTo complete an oral history project, to purchase interactive screens, to purchase equipment for educational purposes, to produce a calendar, to exhibit old agricultural bog tools and to hold nature awareness and sensory experiences, ecology and climate change experiences and mental health awareness experiences.€10,000.00
River Blackwater Catchment TrustCo. MonaghanTo complete the removal of approximately 50 ha of self-seeding conifers and rhododendron within Slieve Beagh Special Protection Area. €7,500.00
An Taisce – The National Trust of IrelandCo. DublinTo update and expand on the existing An Taisce publication “The Wonder of Peatlands” and to provide an online information portal on peat free gardening and to disseminate and promote community awareness in the use of composting alternatives.€20,000.00
Looscaun Shannonside Development GroupCo. GalwayTo carry out hedge trimming, bog track maintenance and upgrades as part of the development of a walking and cycling trail through Cloonmoylan/Barroughter Bogs Special Areas of Conservation.€25,000.00
Kilchreest/Castledaly Community Development GroupCo. GalwayWaste management measures including waste removal, to erect signage and barriers and ongoing monitoring in the Sliabh Aughty Mountains within Sonnagh Bog Special Area of Conservation.€3,000.00
RE-PEATAmsterdam, Netherlands (pilot to take place in Irish school)To develop material and undertake trial education programme within one school in Ireland.€5,000.00
Drummin Bog ProjectCo. CarlowTo install monitors to assess peat dam installation success, continued monitoring of all installations and of weather station on the bog (Drummin Bog), and engage with secondary schools in the project.€7,825.34
Moate Action GroupCo. WestmeathTo erect information signage, to host a seminar with expert speakers and to compile a book on the seminar, host talks to promote the natural and built heritage.€10,000.00
Birdwatch IrelandCo. WicklowTo undertake an assessment of breeding birds on raised bog Special Areas of Conservation sites in the midlands, produce a video on the breeding birds on each site which will be disseminated to local community groups and nationally through BirdWatch Ireland and social media platforms and a scientific publication.€10,000.00
Ballydangan Bog Red Grouse ProjectCo. RoscommonFor improvement works at the vehicle/parking access area for visitors. Improvement of walking path at Ballydangan Bog and revision/updating of existing conservation plan. €3,000.00
Scohaboy Bog / Cloughjordan Community Development GroupCo. TipperaryTo undertake a habitat survey at Scohaboy Bog Natural Heritage Area on habitats not covered to date and to carry out an Appropriate Assessment for a proposed route way for a new visitor and amenity boardwalk. €7,260.00
Attymon Development GroupCo. GalwayToundertake specialised surveys (breeding birds, mammal & butterfly), to produce a video using professional wildlife footage, aerial footage and interviews to showcase the natural wonders and history of the bog, to produce a 24 pg. booklet and online resource, produce a poster and host a series of events (nature walks and day on the bog event).€10,000.00
Mountrath Scout GroupCo. LaoisTo run a series of awareness and education days at Knockacoller Bog Special Area of Conservation and engage experts to run workshops, erect signage at entrance of the bog, install wildlife cameras and survey area using drone. €2,315.47
Cooley Connect WellCo. LouthTo undertake professional mapping of historical sites, preserve and maintain common local historical walk, engage with expert for historical site and habitat report, print and distribute booklets, engagement with local school and community booklet launch. €4,000.00
Galway Telework Co-Operative SocietyCo. GalwayTo complete ongoing maintenance and repair of bog roads, to erect signage, to install outdoor seating and to undertake work on interpretative centre.€20,000.00