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.
Senator Aisling Dolan welcomed funding for local projects in East Galway from the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage under the Peatlands Community Engagement Scheme.
‘Congratulations to the active community groups who are working together to protect the unique boglands, biodiversity and wildlife.
I’m delighted to see €20,000 in funding for the Galway Living Bog group in Mountbellew to develop the interpretative centre within the Galway Telework building as well as outdoor seating. This is thanks to the community working together to achieve this for East Galway and I am very happy to support the team behind Galway’s Living Bog.’
We have such an amazing resource in Carrownagappul Bog which is an environmental site of European and International significance. A recent Birdwatch Ireland survey highlighted the rich wildlife and bird species in the area. We are fortunate to have a site of such importance and this is on the Green Route No.1 option of the Galway to Athlone Cycleway so I would encourage families, businesses to make submissions on why this is a fantastic route. Imagine being able to bring your family to see one of the last protected raised bog sites in the world and the amazing nature, animals and birds in such a large wild open space – now that’s some experience!’
Maura Hannon, manager Galway’s Living Bog noted ‘we are delighted to receive this funding and it will go a long way in enhancing the amenities at Galway’s Living Bog at Carrownagappul for our own local community as well as visitors. The outdoor seating will be very welcome along the 12km walkway which is so used now during the Lockdown’
Paul Connaughton Snr project manager of Galway’s Living Bog Committee stated ‘This funding will be much appreciated by the committee as we have huge plans for the bog now as we have approved planning permission in place. We intend to use this particular funding for more road repairs as we want to make the 12 km roadways through this huge bog of 1,200 acres – a wonderful experience for people of all ages walking through the bog.’
Minister Malcolm Noonan praised 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.”
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.