Most turf-cutters 'in compliance with law'
IRELAND DOES not have to pay “huge fines” because the vast majority of turf-cutters comply with the EU directive to save 53 raised bogs, the Dáil has heard.
Minister for Heritage Jimmy Deenihan rejected a claim by United Left Alliance TD Clare Daly that “most turf-cutters have cut their plots over the past year” and said “it is simply not true”.
He said 2,400 applications had been received for compensation, relocation or the supply of turf.
“To date, 1,461 payments have been made, 58 deliveries have been made and there is general compliance across the country.”
He thanked TDs for encouraging their neighbours to comply with the law and said he wanted to “sincerely thank those who have complied with the law and prevent the levying of huge fines on the country”.
Mr Deenihan also appealed to the Turf Cutters and Contractors Association to return to the table for discussions to resolve the long-running and controversial row over rights to cut on those protected bogs.
Those opposed to the department’s handling of the issue continued to illegally cut from an estimated 11 of the 53 bogs and Ms Daly insisted most owners had cut their plots.
She said the Minister “is well aware the problem is continuing because of the Government’s inaction”.
The Dublin North TD also claimed the Minister had not put forward the proposal, mandated by the Dáil in a debate on the issue, to allow for the cutting of turf in a small number of these bogs where relocation was not possible.
Mr Deenihan insisted he “represented this parliament exactly as was set out in the motion passed”.