Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Wednesday 23 August 2017

Government has made 12,000 payments of €1,500 to date for people stop turf cutting

Turf is being footed at Rockingham Bog, Co. Roscommon. Photo: Brian Farrell
Turf is being footed at Rockingham Bog, Co. Roscommon. Photo: Brian Farrell
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Some 12,411 payments and 901 deliveries of turf have been made to applicants to the government’s turf cutting compensation scheme for raised bog special areas of conservation since its inception in 2011.

In addition, 1,738 once-off incentive payments of €500 have been made. 475 payments have been made to applicants from raised bog natural heritage areas under the scheme, according to figures provided by the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Deputy Heather Humphreys.

The Government put in place a compensation scheme for those affected by the cessation of turf cutting on raised bog special areas of conservation.

This cessation of turf cutting compensation scheme comprises a payment of €1,500 per year, index linked, for 15 years or, where feasible, relocation of turf cutters to non-designated bogs where they can continue to cut turf.

Read more: Man faces jail and €500,000 fine after losing appeal for 'illegal' turf cutting

Those wishing to relocate can avail of the financial payment or the delivery of 15 tonnes of cut turf per annum while relocation sites are identified and prepared.

The costs of acquiring and preparing relocation sites was also met by the State.

An additional once-off payment of €500 for qualifying turf cutters will be provided where legal agreements are signed with the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.


How to qualify

  • The claimant must have a legal interest in one of the 53 raised bog special areas of conservation – ownership or turbary right;
  • The claimant must have been the owner or entitled to exercise turbary rights on the land in question on 25 May 2010;
  • The turbary on the site must not be exhausted;
  • The claimant must have been cutting turf on the land in question during the relevant five year period; and
  • No turf cutting or associated activity is on-going on the property.

Applications under the cessation of turf cutting compensation scheme continue to be accepted by the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.

Minister Humphreys said like all EU Member States, is bound by the requirements of the EU Habitats Directive and the Birds Directive.

“These Directives aim to ensure the protection of habitats and species which have been selected for conservation within special areas of conservation and special protection areas.

“Significant efforts have been made by the State to resolve the issue of the protection of Ireland’s raised bog special areas of conservation within the framework of the Habitats Directive.

“This has included intense and on-going engagement with turf cutting interests, the farming community, non-governmental organisations and with the European Commission, as well as the establishment of a long-term compensation scheme for affected turf cutters,” he said.

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