asked the Minister for Lands whether the Land Commission has given consideration to the question of arranging that Bord na Móna will undertake afforestation work on the fringe areas of bogs so as to avoid as far as possible a lay-off of staff after turf harvesting operations by the Bord; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Afforestation Work on Fringe Areas of Bogs.
I understand that Bord na Móna has planted some small fringe areas on the bogs held by the Bord. From discussions which have taken place between my Department and the Bord as to the future prospects of land being transferred to my Department for forestry purposes, I understand that the Bord has no areas of any consequence available for afforestation at present.
My Department has, as the Deputy is aware, been actively interested in the possibility of increasing the tempo of its land acquisition for forestry purposes in the vicinity of the Bord na Móna bogs with a view, inter alia, to alleviating the effects of seasonality in Bord na Móna employment. Some success has been achieved in the vicinity of some of the Midland bogs, but there is no prospect of expediting afforestation to such an extent as to resolve the problem with which the Deputy is concerned.