Payments under turf scheme are doubled
The deadline for a compensation scheme for turf cutters has been extended and the money on offer doubled after fewer then half of the 1,500 people affected by an EU directive have applied to join the scheme.
Arts and Heritage Minister Jimmy Deenihan last night doubled the compensation for the turf cutters to avoid the prospect of paying a €25,000 daily fine to the European Commission.
So far, less than half of the turf cutters affected have applied for the state compensation scheme set up last year, and just 63 have been paid.
Mr Deenihan is extending the deadline for applications for the compensation process to the end of next month.
As revealed by the Irish Independent two weeks ago, the turf cutters in 14 different counties are now going to be offered €2,000 in compensation this year and then €1,500 per year for the next 14 years.
The compensation is being offered to owners of bogland in special conservation areas to get them to stop cutting.