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Irish Peat Society

Dr. Catherine O'Connell
Irish Peat Society
Irish Peatland Conservation Council
Bog of Allen Nature Centre
Lullymore, Rathangan
Co. Kildare
E-mail: bogs (at) ipcc.ie
Web: www.ipcc.ie

Mr. Pat Fitzgerald
Bord na Móna p.l.c.
Main Street
Newbridge, Co. Kildare
E-mail: pat.fitzgerald (at) bnm.ie
Web: www.bnm.ie

Annual Report 2009

The 4th Annual General Meeting of the Irish Peat Society and the annual conference were held in the Abbeyleix Manor Hotel in Abbeyleix, Co. Laois on Tuesday, 20 October 2009.  The theme of the conference was Abbeyleix Bog Restoration and Conservation. The very good attendance of over 50 people was given a report on the Society’s activities during the year, in particular in relation to the work of the Executive Committee in developing a Business Plan and in participating in the IPS project to write a Strategy for Responsible Peatland Management (SRPM).

Following the AGM in the morning, the first part of the day was given over to a walk on Killamuck (Abbeyleix) Bog which is a partially drained raised bog undergoing rehabilitation. The focus of the field walk was on the peat forming habitats present and the effects of drain-blocking using peat dams on the hydrology of the raised bog.

Following the walk, a number of presentations were given providing background information on Abbeyleix Bog including an outline of vegetation surveys and management work undertaken to date, the role of the local community and the opinion of independent ecologists on the project. Mr. Jim Ryan of the National Parks and Wildlife Service also provided an update on the status of Raised Bog Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) in Ireland. The presentations and the field visit led to lively discussions on future management issues and the potential to enhance the value of the site to the local community in terms of education and nature awareness. The session was chaired by Chairperson of the Irish Peat Society, Dr. Catherine O’Connell and there were members of a number of relevant agencies present including Coillte (national forestry company), National Parks and Wildlife Service, BirdWatch Ireland, Irish Peatland Conservation Council, ecological consultants and local community representatives.

Despite a promise of rain, the day was mostly sunny and the good turn-out of Irish bog men and women led to a thoroughly enjoyable event. The Irish Peat Society would like to thank everyone involved for their support and contributions.

Annual Report 2008

As in recent years, the activities of the Irish Peat Society last year again focussed mainly on preparatory work for Congress-08 that culminated in a very successful Congress in Tullamore in June. Almost 600 people attended the event from 30 different countries spanning each of the continents except Antarctica. Using the sporting analogy we believe that the Tullamore Congress “raised the bar” for the next Congress in four years time. We received numerous messages of thanks and congratulations and everyone involved should feel good and proud at such a satisfactory outcome.

The positive feedback on content and organisation was very pleasing to the Organising Committee. The reaction to the memory-stick proceedings was generally good and Field trips, Accompanying Persons’ tours and the Post Congress tour were very well received. A number of social and cultural events were also included in the rather full programme for the week. Due in particular to the very generous level of sponsorship received towards the financing of the Congress, the Organising Committee was in a position to cover its costs and produce a surplus for the Irish Peat Society.

On behalf of the Irish Peat Society I wish to express our sincerest gratitude to all who helped to make the 13th International Peat Congress held in Tullamore last June so successful and memorable. Your support was very helpful. In particular our thanks must go to the IPS Secretariat as well as to all those colleagues who participated in the Scientific Committee and reviewed submitted presentations and posters and finally to the people who took on the often challenging role of chairing a session. Whereas it would have been very difficult to stage the Congress without the financial assistance of our many generous sponsors, it would have been impossible to run the activities and proceedings without your good selves. The Irish Organising Committee is forever grateful.

At the IPS Annual Assembly held in Tullamore on the final day of the Congress, the outgoing Chairman of the Irish Peat Society Donal Clarke was elected President of the International Peat Society. This is a signal honour for Ireland’s peat community and the Irish Peat Society wish to congratulate Donal and wish him well in his stewardship of the IPS over the next four years.

Also at the Annual Assembly Catherine Farrell was elected as Chair of Commission V. The Irish Peat Society is also honoured by this event and extends its good wishes to Catherine in her endeavours on peatland after-use on behalf of the IPS.

The 3rd Annual General Meeting of the Irish Peat Society was held in the Radisson Royal Hotel Dublin on Tuesday 21 October 2008. The moderate attendance was given a report on the Society’s activities during the year, in particular in relation to the staging of the 13th International Peat Congress in Tullamore in June.

The AGM was immediately followed by a seminar, the theme of which was “Turf-cutting on Natura 2000 sites - problems and solutions”. The programme of presentations included the EU perspective, the farmer/landholder viewpoint and a rather stark outline of the Irish situation in relation to the conservation management of raised bogs given by National Parks and Wildlife.

A new Executive Committee was elected for a four-year term. The Officers are: Chairman, Catherine O’Connell; Vice-Chairman, Catherine Farrell; Secretary-Treasurer, Pat Fitzgerald. The other members are: Caitrona Douglas, Roy Tomlinson and Donal Clarke. John Feehan decided not to go forward for re-election to the Executive Committee and the Irish Peat Society wishes to record its appreciation of the service rendered by both Donal Clarke and John Feehan who are stepping down from the positions of Chairman and Vice-chairman respectively.