Disagreement over an Offaly bog that Bord na Mona want to extract peat from but botanists wish to conserve.

Bord na Mona has already begun drainage work on the bog in Clara County Offaly with the aim of harvesting peat. However, botanists want to see the bog conserved.

Botanists say it's unique and should be conserved. Bord na Mona wants to use it for peat.

Clara Bog Development Association is a local group who want plans for both conservation and development assessed independently. Drainage works should be stopped until this assessment has been made. Fergus O'Gorman of the Irish Wildlife Association has accused Bord na Mona of sharp practice over continued drainage works on the site.

Bord na Mona has given assurances that they would not start drainage on the western half of the bog.

Chairman of the Clara Development Association Michael Pettit, would like to see both sides of the debate investigated but is leaning is in favour of conservation.

Dutch research student and botanist Peter Van Der Molen believes that the drainage works already carried out have caused a great deal of damage and action must be taken quickly to reverse this.

Bord na Mona argues that the bog will provide employment for up to forty people and these jobs will be lost if the drainage stops.

It is up to the government to make the final decision on what happens to Clara bog. Minister for Labour Mr Ruari Quinn believes a resolution is needed sooner rather than later.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 17 April 1984. The reporter is Alasdair Jackson.