'Ming' supports two men on charges of extracting turf from protected bog

Marisa Reidy

TWO north Kerry men are to appear at Tralee Circuit Criminal Court in October on charges relating to the extraction of turf from a protected bog.

John O'Connor (50) and Christopher McCarthy (26), each with an address of Kilbaha, Moyvane, are charged with using a machine to extract turf from the protected Moanveanlagh bog near Listowel last May.

At Listowel District Court the book of evidence in the case was served on the men, who are fully contesting the charges. They were once again supported by members of Turf Cutters and Contractors Association (TCCA) from north Kerry, Clare, Kildare and Galway, including Deputy Luke 'Ming' Flanagan (pictured right), who was in court for the proceedings.

At a previous court sitting, State Solicitor Ed O'Sullivan alleged that National Parks and Wildlife Service officers and gardai found Mr O'Connor and Mr McCarthy operating turfcutting machines on Moanveanlagh Bog on May 20 of last year, two months after a ban on cutting turf in Moanveanlagh was introduced. The investigation continued on May 21, 22 and 24, he said.

"Further inspections were carried out and found that turf was still being cut on different parts of the bog by personnel using the exact same machinery," he said.

At the time, Judge Larkin said she would not accept jurisdiction in the case, am on Tuesday sent the case forward to the October sittings of the Circuit court in Tralee.