At a ceremony in the Netherlands, Scragh Bog in County Westmeath becomes one of the first fully protected raised bogs in the Irish midlands.

Eddie McGee botanist and member of the Irish Peatland Conservation Council (IPCC) is concerned that Irish peatlands and open spaces are being taken for granted. He is not trying to hinder the commercial development on Irish peatlands but,

What we are asking for is a small percentage of peatlands are preserved.

The IPCC is actively trying raise funds to purchase bogs around Ireland and is working with the Dutch who have purchased Irish boglands, including Scragh Bog, a 38 acre bog in County Westmeath. 

Scragh Bog has been part of Teresa Duffy's family farm for over 50 years. Since then a lot of visitors have come to see the bog and she is pleased a Dutch group has bought it for conservation purposes.

I believe that there is something very special about the Scragh Bog and I'd like to see it conserved.

At a ceremony in Baarn in the Netherlands, His Royal Highness Prince Bernhard officially handed over the deeds of Scragh Bog to Noel Treacy, Minister of State at the Department of Finance with special responsibility for the Office of Public Works. The bog is now the property of the Irish nation.

The reason for the generosity of the Dutch is to be seen in the Bargerveen Bog in the north east of the Netherlands. Peat cultivation nearly wiped out this bog and it is one of the last raised bogs remaining in Holland.

Matthijs Schouten, founder the Dutch Foundation for the Conservation of Irish Bogs explains why the Dutch are so keen to preserve Irish bogs.

We will never be able to recreate a bog in Holland, because even with 10 million pounds you cannot get a bog back, bogs have disappeared all over western Europe, the last intact bogs are in Ireland.

Minister Noel Treacy notes the bogs around our Ireland have a unique ecosystem and heritage.

We have a duty to the present and future generations to preserve that unique heritage and that we intend to do.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 5 October 1987. The reporters are Teresa Mannion and Éamonn Lawlor.