Galway turf cutters may face July trial

Protesters gathered at Galway Courthouse to support first men to be prosecuted under EU habitats directive

Protesters march to Eyre Square, Galway in protest at the  EU ban on turf cutting. Photograph: Joe Travers

Protesters march to Eyre Square, Galway in protest at the EU ban on turf cutting. Photograph: Joe Travers

 


A group of protesters carrying placards and banners staged a peaceful protest near the steps of Galway Courthouse yesterday in support of four men who face trial for allegedly cutting turf in protected bogs in south Galway last year

Michael D’Arcy (43) from Ballycahill, Killimor, Padraic Byrne (57) from Main Street, Killimor, Pat McDonagh (43) from Portumna and Anthony Porter (44) from Woodford, posed for photographers as they made their way into Galway Circuit Criminal Court amid cheers from the crowd.

They face prosecution under the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011, in relation to alleged incidents of turf cutting which allegedly occurred at Clonmoylan Bog, near Killimor in south Co Galway on May 22nd, 23rd, and August 21st last year.

The men are the first to be prosecuted since the EU habitats directive imposed restrictions on turf cutting on 53 Irish bogs, which are designated Special Areas of Conservation.

During the brief hearing, defence barrister Conal McCarthy told Judge Keenan Johnson he was still awaiting disclosure by the State on a number of outstanding issues in relation to the case.

He asked for all four cases to be adjourned until July.

Judge Johnson agreed to adjourn the matter until July 2nd, when a date may be fixed for trial.