Sunday, 16 October 2022 – The Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity Loss has concluded its fourth meeting at The Grand Hotel, Malahide, Co. Dublin, with an in-depth discussion on restoring and regenerating Ireland’s peatlands.
At the meeting the Assembly heard that Ireland is a global hot-spot for peat and discussed the need for a balance between maintaining our traditional peatlands with their rich biodiversity and supporting a just transition for those families who solely depend on turf as a source of fuel.
Representatives from Irish Rural Link, Community Wetlands Forum, and Irish Peatlands Conservation Council shared with members the history and heritage of Irish bogs and spoke to the importance of peatlands for Irish biodiversity.
Today’s session followed yesterday’s focus on the voices and perspectives of farmers and rural communities around agricultural landscapes, where a range of speakers and representatives spoke about how they are managing the challenge of biodiversity loss through agricultural practices. The session also included a focus of forestry, with a selection of views on types of forestry and ecological restoration or rewilding being encouraged throughout the country.
Speaking about the weekend’s meeting, the Chair of the Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity Loss, Dr. Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin, said, “This was one of the most intense and significant meetings of the Assembly. We heard from a wide-range of speakers and experts, who shared a diversity of experiences and perspectives, that are central to addressing the challenge of biodiversity loss. It was crucially important that we heard from multiple angles in order to inform our recommendations that we will make in our final report.
“In particular the discussion on peatlands brought home to all of us the history and heritage of these special lands, and the need to value our heritage while also ensuring we protect the lands that will be left to future generations.
“As the Assembly is tasked with recommending solutions that will be implemented, this weekend’s discussions were a hugely important part of this process including informed and engaged members of the public in the policymaking process. I want to thank the 24 speakers who gave their time and provided such compelling food for thought.”
The penultimate meeting of the Assembly will take place in three weeks’ time focusing on freshwater, marine, and the urban environment. The Assembly is due to complete its work by the end of the year when it will send its final report and recommendations to the Houses of the Oireachtas.
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