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07 Aug 2022

Major funding initiative announced for climate action in the Midlands

€10 million for climate action initiative in the Midlands

Major funding initiative announced for climate action in the Midlands

A major funding initiative for climate action in the Midlands has been announced.

Offaly minister Pippa Hackett has welcomed the €10million funding injection from the EU for a project which will work with peatlands and communities in the Midlands to deliver capacity and support related to a low-carbon economy. 

Speaking about the project, ‘Peatlands and People’, which will highlight the power of peatlands to effect significant climate action wins, Minister Hackett said:  "This wonderful initiative will deliver to the Midlands a Peatlands Centre of Excellence, Just Transition Accelerator, and a new Discovery Attraction. 

"Supported by the LIFE project, it will put the spotlight and investment where it should be, on Peatlands AND People. Our peatlands are a precious resource in terms of storing carbon, restoring biodiversity and supporting local communities through new jobs taking care of our environment and so I am delighted to welcome ‘Peatlands and People’ to the Midlands, just months after my colleague Minister Eamon Ryan TD announced Government support for the rehabilitation of a huge area of Bord na Móna peatlands.”

Referring to the fact that the fund is being announced on World Wetlands Day, Minister Hackett continued:  "It is fitting that this announcement comes on World Wetlands Day, which aims to raise global awareness of the importance of wetlands, including peatlands, for people and our planet.”

Speaking further about the project, Minister Hackett added:  “It will engage people in Ireland and across the European Union, helping them to understand the benefits of peatlands restoration, and to realise just how much power peatlands have to effect positive climate action. 

"It’s a major initiative which will contribute to the long term implementation of Ireland’s Climate Action Plan, and I am delighted that not only is it receiving co-financing from my Department, of Agriculture, but that central to it will be my Green party Ministerial colleagues Eamon Ryan and Malcolm Noonan. Minister Ryan announced the funding, and Minister Malcolm Noonan’s Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage will be an active partner in the project through the National Parks and Wildlife Services”.
 
According to Minister Hackett, the project will establish "a Peatlands Knowledge Centre of Excellence, to carry out and examine peatlands restoration, will be a marvellous edition to this region, and will be play a central role effecting positive climate action from these midlands bogs; a Just Transition Accelerator Programme will focus on low-carbon and circular economies, and aims to provide a range of services for the development of new sustainable products, services, enterprises and value chains; An immersive People’s Discovery Attraction will be a super attraction for locals and tourists interested in climate action and peatlands. It aims to progress with the establishment of an educational space that cultivates curiosity and climate literacy, providing a forum for dialogue and discovery."

Speaking further of those plans, Minister Hackett concluded:  “The establishment of a Peatlands Knowledge Centre of Excellence, to carry out and examine peatlands restoration, will be a marvellous edition to this region, and it will play a central role effecting positive climate action from these bogs. I’m also really looking forward to visiting the immersive People’s Discovery Attraction when it’s up and running. It will be a super attraction for locals and tourists alike.”

The project partners plan to hold a stakeholder engagement day to explore the details of the EU LIFE IP Peatlands and People project when current Covid-19 restrictions ease.

Speaking about the project, Bord na Móna Chief Executive Tom Donnellan said: “I warmly welcome this significant funding from the European Commission for this project that will contribute towards the implementation of Ireland’s Climate Action Plan. Bord na Móna is taking a lead role in this as we are now focused on reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and enhancing carbon storage potential through best practice restoration and rehabilitation of peatlands.

"I am particularly pleased that the project recognises that climate action doesn’t happen in isolation, it will require a new awareness and behaviour change across society. We have been through this fundamental change and I think we can show that you can achieve business growth and place a new value on the environment that sustains all of us”.

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