Turf-cutters get €1.5 million payout
More than €1.5 million has been paid to some 1,000 turf-cutters in the controversial compensation scheme for the protection of 53 raised bogs.
Those whose turbary rights are on the affected bogs receive €1,500 a year for 15 years in the scheme along with a once-off sign-up bonus of €500 paid this year on completion of a legal agreement between the turf cutter and Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan.
The total compensation package is worth €23,000 tax-free and is index-linked over the 15 years.
The other option for turf-cutters instead of compensation is relocation to another bog, if available, where they can continue to cut turf lawfully. While waiting for another location, turf-cutters can opt for financial compensation or a delivery of 15 tonnes of turf to their home.
More than 2,300 applications for compensation have been made, of which 676 have sought relocation to another bog.
Mr Deenihan has welcomed the news that the number of turf cutters accepting compensation has exceeded 1,000.
He said progress had been made. “The majority of affected turf-cutters have worked with us and I want to pay tribute to those who are engaging with my department to access either financial compensation or an alternative location where they can continue to cut turf legally.”
The Minister said they were moving closer to the point where the unique habitats of the 53 raised bogs “are preserved whilst ensuring that turf-cutters have financial compensation or turf or an alternative location to cut”.