The production of peat by Bord na Móna at Derrygreenagh will clear the bogs and see land reclaimed for farming.
The Derrygreenagh group of bogs straddles counties Kildare, Offaly and Westmeath. Development on these bogs commenced in 1952. Under the Turf Development Act of 1946, Bord na Móna could acquire land through a compulsory order but primarily it was acquired through negotiation with local landowners.
Bord na Móna started to build railways on Derrygreenagh bog in 1957 and at that stage it was a virgin bog, previously unused for any purpose.
It was just only a vast wilderness, thousands of acres of swamps and lakes.
At that point, 96% of the bog was water. Bord na Móna had to drain the bog, a difficult process requiring specialised machinery and manual workers.
Seventy percent of the turf cut from the Derrygreenagh bog goes to the Electricity Supply Board (ESB) Rhode power station and thirty percent goes to the Croghan briquette factory. At peak production, 650 people are employed on 20,000 acres of bog. There are also 70 skilled workers employed in the Derrygreenagh workshop.
Once the bog is cut away Bord na Móna has the expertise to reclaim and reuse the land. Over a five year period, 400 acres have been reclaimed and converted into grassland which can support crops such as barley.
When all the bogs are cut away in this country there will be 170,000 acres.
Within 25 years the existing workforce on Derrygreenagh Bog will face redundancy. However, if the reclaimed land is given over to beef farming, a processing industry could be set up to provide employment to the existing workforce, as well as other people in the region.
The episode of 'The Live Mike’was broadcast on 15 February 1980. The reporter is Mike Murphy. The music used in the report is ‘Gymnopédie No 1’ by Erik Satie.