Turf war reignites as cutters move in
The 'turf war' reignited yesterday as turf 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, near Galway city, six turf-cutting machines began cutting at around 5am yesterday 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 yesterday afternoon as about 100 turf cutters and supporters gathered at the bog 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 under way.
The turf cutters claimed the road was a private entry.
The Sunday Independent understands that further illegal turf cutting has taken place 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.