Tense stand-off with gardai as turf cut in protected bogs
The turf war reignited today as cutters moved in on three protected bogs in the west and there was a tense stand-off involving gardai, parks and wildlife rangers, turf cutters and smallholders.
In Monivea not far from Galway city, six turf cutting machines began cutting around 5am today on a bog designated as a Special Area of Conservation even though a significant number of gardai were at the scene overnight.
Further garda reinforcements were at the scene this afternoon as about 100 turf cutters and supporters gathered at the bog about a mile and half outside the village of Monivea,.
At Kilteevan, across the border in Co Roscommon, there was a stand-off as turf cutters and supporters stopped gardai and officers from the Parks and Wildlife Service from entering a boreen, leading to a bog where illegal turf cutting was underway.
The turf cutters claimed the road was a private entry, as it has never been under the control of the local authority.
Independent.ie understands that further illegal turf cutting has taken place at a protected bog near Ballymoe, on the Galway Roscommon border.
Under the terms of the European Habitats Directive, a number of raised bogs have been declared as Special Areas of Conservation and a turf-cutting ban on these bogs was introduced in 2011.
Compensation is available for those who abide by the ban.
Thirteen of the bogs in question are located in Co Galway.
Today’s incident is the latest in a number of incidents involving turf cutters.
Earlier this month there was another protest which ended peacefully at a bog near Killmor in Co Galway. About 50 protesters were involved.