Members of the ‘Bord na Móna Ex Workers Group’ invite other former BnM staff to join them at Lough Boora Discovery Park next Tuesday, April 27.

Former BNM workers dig out of isolation

A group of former Bord na Móna workers in Offaly have made productive use of time during the Covid-19 lockdown and now look forward to getting together in person as restrictions ease.

Like for the rest of the population, the pandemic has meant this group of men have been searching for ways to keep connected with families, communities and former work colleagues, and in doing so reduce social isolation.

The idea to reach out to former Bord na Móna men was identified as a need during the Boora Wellbeing Programme in 2020.

The ‘Bord na Móna Ex Workers Group’ have met four times (to date), via Zoom to plan and develop a programme of activities that will reach out to men that worked in all Bord na Mona locations in County Offaly.

The meetings were facilitated by Offaly Local Development Company Development workers David McCaffrey and Declan Costello.

One meeting was dedicated to telling stories of the men’s memories from their many years of working with Bord na Móna.

Pleased with the success of that, the group decided to start collecting stories from as many of the men as possible, from throughout Offaly.

Mr Costello said they could include stories from harvesting peat, the briquette factories, workshops, offices, canteens, social and sporting events and the many changes experienced over the years.

He said the plan is collect as many stories as possible and to include them in a book later in the year.

Ideally, the stories will be emailed to the Men’s Group members, but recordings will also be possible, especially as restrictions are eased in the next few weeks, he added.

The other agreed activity is to organise outdoor activities from late April, the first of which is a walk to take place on Tuesday next, April 27, at Lough Boora Discovery Park at 2pm.

The second walk is arranged for Friday, April 30 at 2pm along the Grand Canal in Daingean.

The walks will be Covid-compliant and are planned initially to take place over an eight-week period.

Mr Costello said that the current group members involved are Edward Nolan, Eugene Hewson, Martin Rourke, Mick Currams, Pat Brady, Pat Dooley, Pat McEvoy, Pat Phelan, Seamus Barron, Sean Craven and Sean Ganly, who worked in Bord na Mona locations in Blackwater, Boora, Derrinlough and Derrygreenagh.

Other former Bord na Móna workers are invited to make contact with him or Mr McCaffrey (details below) if they would like to get join in on any of the planned walks, or to contribute their memories.

• For information on joining the group, getting involved in writing or collecting workers’ stories or joining the upcoming walks, contact Offaly Local Development Company – David McCaffrey at 087 1782989 or; or Declan Costello at 087 6991226 or