The Irish Wildlife Federation gets the deeds of Lough Boora which had been used as a peat bog.
The well known botanist David Bellamy was just one of the conservationists who attended the official handing over ceremony of what was formerly a lake known as Lough Boora near Cloghan in County Offaly. The carriage used as transport for those attending the event was supplied by West Clare Railways.
Bord na Móna has already handed over many valuable sites to numerous conservation groups. On this occasion Managing Director of Bord na Móna Patrick McEvilly gave the deeds of the lake bed and site to Fergus O'Gorman of the Irish Wildlife Federation.
The 35 acre peatland lake was drained by the Bord na Móna when they took it over for development in the late 1940s. After drainage the remains of an ancient settlement was uncovered and excavated in 1977 by the National Museum of Ireland.
No peat will ever be cut from Lough Boora, Patrick McEvilly admits it is difficult for Bord na Móna to balance the need for conservation and the commercial exploitation of bogs.
David Bellamy is sympathetic,
Why should I expect the original person who designed the works of Bord na Móna to really have known about conservation; conservation has really only happened in the past few years.
He believes a group effort, involving the people of Ireland, the Irish government and the European Economic Community is required if conservation is to be successful.
Fergus O'Gorman says now the Irish Wildlife Federation have the deeds to Lough Boora, the area will be preserved. In the long term, access to the site will be developed, particularly for educational purposes. While the site is bleak, he is confident people will be interested enough to visit as the area as it is part of our national heritage, as important, if not more important than Newgrange.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 17 January 1984. The reporter is Alasdair Jackson.