Niall Ó Brolcháin of the Insight center for data analytics at NUI Galway hosted a talk at the Umbrella Academy in May 2022. He represented the EU Interreg Care Peat project at an Eco Showboat event in Portumna to discuss peatland policy with an eclectic mix of artists, ecologists, academics, public servants, farmers activists and others.
The Eco Showboat (namely the Mayfly) is a community-based arts project based on a sailing boat powered by renewable energy travelling around the waterways of Ireland, bringing together people to showcase technology, arts, science and ecology and to create amazing conversations. While many of the audience wanted to see peatlands restored, others wanted to ensure that their right to cut turf is not threatened and others want to use rewetted peatlands to grow willows.
The talk focused on discussing the opportunities that peatland restoration offers to local communities and exploring ways that we can reduce Greenhouse gas emissions enormously by learning to live with restored peatlands and encouraging carbon farming, paludiculture (wetland farming) and developing ecosystem services. Niall is interested in evidence-based policy development, using big data and data analytics to create decision support tools for multi-stakeholder co-creation of policies.