Dispute and resolution
Published 03/01/2012 | 05:00
Under the terms of the EU Habitats Directive 1992, Irish raised bogs are to be fully protected from exploitation, which includes turfcutting.
A 10-year derogation delayed the implementation of the directive.
The expiry of the derogation led to a protracted dispute between the Department of Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht and local turf cutters, contractors and bog owners, especially in parts of the midlands and west.
A template for resolution was drawn up with the help of organisations such as Irish Rural Link.
The terms of the resolution included a menu of options:
-Compensation: Tenants who enter an agreement with the Department of Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht not to cut turf in the restricted areas will get an annual index linked payment of €1,000 each year for 15 years.
-Relocation: Tenants who sign the agreement can alternatively be granted access to another bog to cut turf in accordance with their current turbary rights.
-Direct supply: In cases where a bog is not available or convenient and where signatories do not want monetary compensation, they can avail of a supply of turf commensurate with the amount provided under their current turbary rights.