independent

Friday 29 August 2014

'The only thanks we got for cooperation was summonses'

Donal Nolan

Published 04/09/2013 | 05:36

  • Share
Michael D O'Sullivan and Mick Scannell make a symbolic gesture by cutting turf with a slean at a protest on Monveanlagh bog. Photo by Ann McNamee

OBJECTORS to the turf-cutting ban on Moanveanlagh Bog outside Listowel have come back with an angry response to an appeal by Heritage Minister Jimmy Deenihan for their co-operation.

  • Share
  • Go To

OBJECTORS to the turf-cutting ban on Moanveanlagh Bog outside Listowel have come back with an angry response to an appeal by Heritage Minister Jimmy Deenihan for their co-operation.

Minister Deenihan called on the turf-cutters' to co-operate in an imminent review of the ban which could see turf-cutting allowed on the bog on a limited basis.

However, the turf-cutters insist they have already demonstrated their willingness to co-operate with the review and are angry at any suggestion to the contrary. Over 150 objectors attended a rally on Moanveanlagh bog last week in support of the turf-cutters. Turf was cut by hand during the protest, but despite the turf-cutting ban, Gardaí said no prosecutions will be brought. However, two local turf-cutting contractors are currently before the courts charged with cutting turf with machines on the bog last year.

"We have always been prepared to co-operate in talks," spokesperson for the local branch of the Turfcutters' and Contractors' Association (TCCA) Mike Looney said. "But we were never consulted with in the first instance prior to the designation of Moanveanlagh as an SAC raised bog. Meanwhile, on March 14 of last year I got a letter from then chair of the Peat Council - which set up the Quirke Report into the turf-cutting - saying he would keep in touch as, he wrote: 'things are unfolding very quickly now'."

"I haven't heard from him since," Mr Looney said.

The TCCA in north Kerry say they intend co-operating fully with expert consultants who are to arrive soon to carry out a report for Minister Deenihan into the impact of turf-cutting on the bog.

"I had three phone calls from Minister Deenihan in April of this year to tell me that an expert was to come and speak to us. Minister Deenihan asked it we would talk to that expert and we said 'certainly' but we have heard nothing since," Mr Looney said.

He said that turf-cutters in the Republic have been marginalised at every turn in the activation of the SAC status and he claimed this was in direct contrast to a similar process in Northern Ireland.

"The Sliabh Beagh Conservation Management Plan, which is a huge document relating to protected status of a bog up there, referred throughout to turf-cutters in the area being the 'most important' people of all.

"We have always been prepared to co-operate down here but the only thanks we got for it was the summons of two contractors," Mr Looney said.

Kerryman

Read More

GrabOne Deals

News