Bord na Mona hopeful of developing dozens of local jobs through birchwater harvesting

Bord na Mona is hopeful that a new health food product could be produced, bottled and distributed in the Shannonside region resulting in dozens of jobs.

The company, which is looking to move away from peat production and develop a range of food products, has today begun harvesting birch water from dozens of trees in Ballymahon in Longford.

The trees are growing on former bogland and Minister Sean Canney as well as Bord na Mona CEO Tom Donnellan were in Ballymahon today for the first tapping of the trees.

The drink is popular in Scandinavian countries and the process to extract the liquid needs to be done in a short window of time water as minerals and sugars are pushed up from the roots of the birch as winter turns to spring.

It has been suggested that a new food hub development, planned for Lanesborough and announced in conjunction with Longford County Council before Christmas, could be a natural base for a long term birchwater processing facility

Speaking to Shannonside FM, Tom Donellan feels employing local people who used to work on the bogs would be very important for the company if the product proves popular: