Fianna Fáil TD for Laois-Offaly, Barry Cowen, says de-listing Black Castle Bog as a Natural Heritage Area (NHA) would provide the local economy with a significant boost.
Deputy Cowen recently led a delegation from Black Castle bog for a meeting held in Clara with a representative from the Department of Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht and a representative from the OPW.
The delegation argued in favour of de-listing Black Castle bog from its present designated status as a Natural Heritage Areas (NHA).
Deputy Cowen stated: “Unlike Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) there is a Departmental review of Natural Heritage Areas due to be completed in the next few months.
“Black Castle bog contains plots where over 60 families cut turf for their own use, these families straddle the three counties of Offaly, Kildare and Westmeath including areas like Clonmore, Corbettstown, Castlejordan, Rooske, Harristown and Edenderry.
“At the meeting we emphasised the unique social and economic benefit to the community and we urged Government officials to de-list this area as a NHA as part of the on-going review.”
Following a Dáil PQ submitted by Deputy Cowen he was subsequently informed by Minister Jimmy Deenihan that the review will be completed by Autumn.
“It is imperative that people in Black Castle bog learn of their faith as soon as possible in order to adequately prepare for the 2014 turf-cutting season,” Deputy Cowen concluded.