05/11/12

5/11/2012 Deenihan appoints new Peatlands Council Chairman

Monday, November 5th – Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, has announced the appointment of Seamus Boland as Chairman of the Peatlands Council. The Minister has also paid tribute to the work and commitment of outgoing Chairman, Conor Skehan.

Conor Skehan, who headed the Peatlands Council from its establishment in April 2011, has decided to step down from his role in order to concentrate on other personal and professional commitments. Under his stewardship, the Council has overseen an initial public consultation phase on a National Peatlands Strategy and the development of a more co-operative environment for turf cutting communities and the State to come together to work on long-term solutions.

Conor Skehan commented:

“When taking this role I initially allowed myself a one year timeframe to get the Council off the ground, however I felt it was necessary to be available throughout the recent turf cutting season. This has been a challenging time, and some progress has been made. However, after 18 months, I think the time has come to hand over the helm for the next phase of the Council’s work”.

Minister Deenihan has praised Conor Skehan’s enormous commitment and contribution as  Chairman, commenting:

“I wish to commend Conor Skehan on the work that he has undertaken in establishing the Peatlands Council and growing it into an important body that brings stakeholders together to work and develop positive solutions to this very difficult matter. Under Conor’s Chairmanship, the Peatlands Council has done much important work on the twin aims of delivering on Ireland’s commitments while also recognising the needs of those most affected.”

Minister Deenihan has also announced the appointment of current Peatlands Council member, Seamus Boland, to the role of Chairman. Seamus Boland is CEO of Irish Rural Link, an organisation that represents the interests of groups and communities in rural Ireland, and he was central to the ongoing successful bog relocation project in Clara Bog, Co. Offaly.

Speaking on the appointment, the Minister said:

“I am delighted to appoint Seamus Boland to the role of Chair. He brings with him a wealth of experience, skills and understanding of rural issues and is also well versed in all issues regarding the management of Ireland’s peatlands and our commitments under Irish and European law.

“The Peatlands Council has a large body of work ahead including the development of National Peatlands Strategy and working with my Department to ensure that solutions for turf cutters across the country are identified and delivered.”

Incoming Chairman, Seamus Boland, commented:

“I am delighted to take on the role of Chairman of the Peatlands Council and I aim to work with all relevant stakeholders to find suitable solutions. As a turf cutter, I know the complexities of this issue but I have also worked to develop real solutions. I now hope, through this Chairmanship, to use the Peatlands Council to build national solutions for all communities and stakeholders.”

Ends/

Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, 23 Kildare Street, Dublin , D02 TD30. Tel: 01 631 3800 / LoCall: 1890 383 000

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