Wednesday, 6 November 2019
Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2016: Report Stage (Resumed) and Final Stage
Fintan Warfield (Sinn Fein)
I too was shocked, disappointed and ashamed to be a Member of this House when the Fine Gael amendment was passed last week, particularly given, as Senator Ruane said, that we had already in previous weeks passed a Government amendment to allow for the designation of a natural heritage area to cease on the basis of sporting needs. Why, then, is there a need for a reference to golf courses? I support amendment No. 38a. Bogs cultivate over thousands of years and their removal for the purpose of the development of a golf course is terrible State and Government policy. When we think of the removal of woodlands across the island throughout our history, going from almost complete to minimal coverage, and the environmental impact it has had, we should also consider the impact of the removal of bogs for something that would probably only benefit the next generation in the short term. It would take hundreds of years to regenerate the peat removed. For example, 15 cm of peat contains more carbon per hectare than a tropical forest. For the purpose of the development of an 18 hole golf course, or the extension of a golf course from nine to 18 holes, 40 to 80 ha of peat layer would be removed when 15 cm of thick peat layer contains more carbon per hectare than a tropical forest. We will be supporting amendment No. 38a. As I said, the Fine Gael amendment passed during the debate last week does not differentiate between mass removal and something that might infringe slightly on bogland. It is way too blunt. It is entirely unreasonable to suggest we should enact an amendment to provide for the removal of peatland for the purpose of the development of a golf course. I ask others to support amendment No. 38a.