A bit of good news for Ireland yesterday. It was announced by the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, that the sale of the harvesting rights of our state owned forests was not to be sold. In the Minister’s own words “now is not the time to proceed with the sale.”
It was also announced that Coillte is to be merged with Bord na Mona. Set up in 1946 for the purpose of peat harvesting… Bord na Mona has now diversified into garden products… waste recovery and renewable energy. While BNM continues to destroy… actually most of them are destroyed… our bogs… ordinary folks who wish to save enough turf to heat their homes are being prevented from doing so. I digress…what worries me about this proposed merger is the direction that BNM is now taking. With most of the bogs in their ownership almost depleted they are now looking to other ways of making money.
Their recently appointed CEO recently launched the new direction for the company which is entitled “A New Contract with Nature.” Well the old contract destroyed the boglands in their care so I wonder what the new one will do.
I come from a small village in north Tipperary called Templetuohy. Bord na Mona was always a big employer here. Now that the bogs have been turned into deserts they have turned to renewable energy here. To be prescise..wind turbines. Lots of wind turbines…I don’t know exactly how many. These…as always…were built despite local opposition…at the beginning. Now more and more are going up and people don’t protest any more. “They will go ahead anyway so why waste our energy fighting a losing battle” is what people say.
So back to the forests. They have been saved…for now. Minister Coveney’s word were “not the appropriate time to sell”, does that mean the appropriate time may come. With Coillte merging with Bord na Mona are they seeing the potential for expansion of their renewable energy operations into the forests? A worrying thought indeed. There have been murmurings already of Coillte’s interest in having wind turbines in their forests. Two thousand wind turbines are to be erected in the Bog of Allen…covering 5 counties…this is going to be a huge blight on the landscape of the midlands.
As you may have guessed by now I don’t like wind turbines. In a small country like Ireland with a spread out population it’s very hard to erect wind turbines without being near someone’s home. People’s health and value of their properties have been ruined by these turbines. In the view of many…including myself…wind turbines should be in the sea.
Keep Ireland’s landscape beautiful…these turbines do not enhance it. Our forests are safe…for now. We must continue to use them…they are our resource…we need to show we care for them…want to continue to protect them. So go to your local forest whenever you can. You will feel refreshed, renewed and relaxed. You will also be helping to protect one of the people’s greatest assets.