A protected bog near Portlaoise that was in the past cut by plot owners, has now been fully designated as a Special Area of Conservation.
Knockacollier along with the nearby Coolrain bog are considered by experts as some of the most intact Midland Raised Bogs in Ireland.
In 2002 they were selected to be designated as Special Areas of Conservation, among 53 Irish bogs that the EU ruled as unique natural habitats. Many plot owners took compensation, of either €1,500 a year for 15 years, replacement turf deliveries, or a replacement plot.
This June, Laois County Council announced that Knockacollier was “previously designated a candidate SAC and having been advertised and notified to the European commission is now statutorily designated.”
The designation is in accordance with European Union Habitats Regulations.
It will add to the county's protected raised bogs, including Abbeyleix bog, a destination for tourism and research which was recently visited by President Michael D Higgins.