Monday 19 February 2018

The right to cut turf

Dear Editor, I'm concerned that all people who wish to continue to cut turf should have their rights to do so.

I applaud those who, despite provocation and much misinformation through the media, have continued to exercise their inalienable and long-standing rights in this respect.

In December 1963, our local solicitor Frank Gannon, Dromod, won a landmark case in the Supreme Court that turf-cutting was a long-standing tradition and, even more important than that, turf was an agricultural product.

The right to continue to cut turf is closely tied in with farming.

I've just seen a list of the 75 National Heritage Areas in which turf-cutting is to be stopped at the end of next year. Ten, at least, are in County Leitrim. Many others straddle the border between Leitrim and Longford. There are many in other Western counties too. It's as if we are especially targeted in the West. How they were chosen for designation is completely unclear and therefore, to me, these designations are unlawful. Remember, that these NHAs will soon become Special Areas of Conservation with a 15km buffer zone around each in which future planning permissions will be severely curtailed.

These are the vexatious things that are being imposed by a totally uncaring administration on the advice of the National Parks and Wildlife Service personnel. They want to rob us of our rights. Parnell once told us to keep a firm grip of our rights. We should do no less today. Yours, Des Guckian, Dromod.

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