PEAT RESEARCH CENTRE OPENS IN NEWBRIDGE

by ehistoryadmin on December 18, 2015

LEINSTER LEADER 2 JUNE 1990

Peat research centre opens in Newbridge

By Theresa Murray

The new Bord na Mona peat research centre was officially opened in Newbridge on Thursday last by Science and Technology Minister, Michael Smith.

Jointly funded by Bord na Mona and the Office of Science and Technology in the Department of Industry and Commerce, the new facility has been built on the grounds of existing Bord na Mona buildings, dating from 1860 and will employ thirty-two people in research and development.

The opening coincided with the start of a seminar attended by some twenty speakers from Ireland, Britain, the U.S.A., Canada, Europe and the USSR and funded through the E.C.’s Science, Research and Development Commission with sponsorship from Kildare Co. Council and Newbridge Town Commissioners.

Speaking at the opening of the research centre and the launch of the seminar, Bord na Mona Managing Director Eddie O’Connor stated that the aim of the centre is to undertake commission and sponsor research and development activities which will lead to the strengthening of the peat industry in Ireland and abroad. “It is envisaged that in time the centre will be generating its own income from commercially orientated research and development of peat with particular emphasis on science – based products and the environment,” he added.

Mr. O’Connor said that the building of the centre had only commenced three months ago and he praised the efforts of Chris Ryan and Pat Moore, the civil engineer and builder, and all those who had worked hard to get the building completed. “Over the last three weeks the pace increased from the frantic to the frenetic and the peat research centre has been completed with flair and imagination,” he added.

Research and development already carried out by Bord na Mona personnel has shown that peat has many qualities which can be harnessed into new product ideas,” Mr. O’Connor continued.

“The progress made to date in the development of products which can tackle particular environmental problems has been exciting. The peat research centre will not only carry on the great work which has already been done but will have the expertise and resources to achieve even greater progress in the search for new peat products and for the protection of the environment.”

The Bord na Mona Research and Development Department has already developed a number of products designed to alleviate environmental problems including a product for septic tank effluent treatment and another for treating offensive industrial odours.

“The future role of peat in the area of pollution control gives me good cause for optimism,” Mr. Michael Smith T.D. told those at the official opening. “We cannot proceed with industrial development without due regard for the environment. Where technological progress is going to benefit our environment we have a duty to facilitate and accelerate that progress where possible.”

He went on to say that the new centre was near the facilities of Dublin and yet close to the Bog of Allen which made it the ideal location. One of the advantages which could be felt immediately was the fact that many well qualified university graduates would be in a position to stay and work at home instead of going abroad with their skill, the Minister stated.

He also paid tribute to Todd Andrews, the first managing Director of Bord na Mona, Eamon De Valera and Sean Lemass for their vision in setting up Bord na Mona from a one-man operation in a small office into the major industry which it is today.

The new centre, continued the Minister, contains the best equipment available in its four laboratories, for chemistry, micro-biology, physics and analysis. The centre will work closely with third level colleges, funding a peat fellowship. Ten post graduate students will be sponsored to undertake research projects as part of their studies.

The centre is being funded by a once-off capital injection from the office of Science and Technology, with additional funding to create and sustain the employment of sixteen scientists and engineers. State investment will total £2m over the next three years and the centre is being supported by E.C. structural funds. Bord na Mona has committed £1m per annum for a period of five years, which will cover operational costs.

 

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