Dáil Éireann - Volume 372 - 14 May, 1987

Written Answers. - Bord na Móna Cutaway Bogs.

41. Mr. N. O'Malley asked the Minister for Energy if the departmental committee on the use of cutaway bogs set up [2067] in 1979 still exists; the plans, if any, there are to publish a further report following the publication of an interim report in 1983; the appointments, if any, made to the committee from outside the Civil Service since that publication; the number of times the committee has met since the interim report was published; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Energy (Mr. R. Burke): The Inter-Departmental committee on the use of Bord na Móna cutaway bogs, which was set up in 1977, has completed its work. An interim report by this committee was published in 1979. No appointments have been made from outside the Civil Service since the publication of the interim report and the committee has met five times since then.

I am now considering whether to publish the results of the work recently concluded by the committee or to arrange for some further experimental work which would resolve in a more conclusive way questions about the technical and economic viability of some horticultural and agricultural uses of cutaway bogland.

The work of the committee indicated broad agreement that forestry will be the optimum solution in considerable areas of cutaway, representing about 60 per cent of the total and that there will be significant tracts where grassland and dry stock raising could prove worthwhile. Some further testing of the latter is indicated as desirable. Certain low-lying cut-aways are likely to be suitable only for reflooding and the creation of wetland for amenity facilities. It is not my intention to let cutaway land stand idle, but to see that this valuable resource is put to the best possible economic use.