In May 2010, the then Government announced the end of the 10 year derogation granted in 1999, which allowed a continuation of turf-cutting by land owners and turbary right owners for their own domestic use. Turf-cutting ceased immediately on 31 raised bogs designated as Special Areas of Conservation (SACs). No further turf-cutting can occur on these sites without the express consent of the Minister. It was also decided that turf-cutting would cease on a further 24 raised bog SACs at the end of 2011. Raised Bog SAC sites
In April 2011, the new Government upheld the decision of the previous Government in regards to the phasing out of turf-cutting on these SACs. It also committed to carrying out a review of the position in respect of the NHAs. This review will be conducted in advance of the 2014 season and further details will be available at that time.
The Government also announced details of a compensation package for turf-cutters in sites where continued turf-cutting is no longer possible for reasons of environmental protection. Details of the compensation schemes are available below.
The Compensation Scheme is currently open to qualifying applicants within the 53 Raised Bog SACs. The National Parks and Wildlife Service has written directly to affected owners of land and turbary rights with details of the new arrangements. Adverts have also been published in local and national press.
Those who have been legally sourcing turf from the Raised Bogs SACs (list above) may be compensated by way of a payment of €1,500 per annum (index linked) over 15 years. All qualifying turf-cutters participating in the scheme will also receive a once off payment of €500 in the first year of the scheme
To Qualify for this scheme you will be asked to demonstrate the following:
Every effort will be made by the Department to assist applicants to demonstrate their eligibility for compensation or relocation including with the land identification process, locally and centrally based Department staff may be able to assist in this regard. Additional information regarding qualification criteria will be provided with the application form.
Application forms are available by contacing the Site Protection Unit of the National Parks and Wildlife Service:
By Telephone - Lo-Call 1890 253147 or (053) 9117310
By email - firstname.lastname@example.org
By Post - Site Protection Unit, Dept. of Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht, Newtown Road, Wexford.
As an alternative to financial payments and where feasible, qualifying turf cutters will be facilitated in relocating to alternative non-designated sites to continue cutting turf. The Qualifying Criteria for Relocation will be similar to that of the Annuity Payment Scheme.
Applicants who wish to take up the option of relocation will be requested to indicate their interest on the application form. Once the overall level of interest from qualifying turf-cutters within a site or an area is established, further contact will be made with a view to assessing acceptable options. Applicants may opt to receive payments under the annuity scheme until such time as alternative sites can be provided and the terms of the relocation will take account of any such payments made.
In October 2011, the Minister, on foot of recommendations from the Peatlands Council announced that those individuals who opt for relocation will now have a choice of receiving, on an interim basis, the annual payment or a supply of turf per year for up to four years (to be kept under review) while they await the outcome of their relocation request.
Under the enhanced compensation package,turf-cutters who opt to relocate to an undesignated bog will also receive a one off payment of €500 and will be entitled to receive either a payment of €1500 (increased from €1000) or a delivery of 15 tonnes of turf (increased from 10 tonnes) for each year until their relocation bog is ready to commence turf-cutting. The scheme will also allow for flexibility in terms of the provision of more than 15 tonnes of turf for those wishing to relocate where more than one household in the same family has sourced its turf from a single bog plot.
In order to assist individuals and committees in an efficient manner, a liaison NPWS official has been appointed as a first point of contact in respect of relocation issues. Contact details for these individuals are outlined below:
|Padraig O'Donnell||Cavan, Longford, Roscommon & Westmeath||(044) email@example.com|
|Enda Mooney||Clare & Galway||(091) firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Padraig Comerford||Kildare, Laois, Meath & Offaly||(045) email@example.com|
|Frank McMahon||Kerry||(064) firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Eamonn Meskell||Tipperary||(067) email@example.com|
|Denis Strong||Mayo||(098) firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Tim Roderick||Sligo||(071) email@example.com|
In early 2011, the Government convened a Peatlands Forum – under the Chairmanship of Judge John Quirke. Following the forum, Judge Quirke recommended that a National Raised Bog SAC Management Plan be devised. Subsequently, Dáil Éireann unanimously supported the recommendation for a national plan to be put in place forIreland’s protected raised bogs
The drafting of this national plan will allow solutions for turf-cutters within each of the 53 raised bogs to be explored in detail. As part of this process, the Government will examine the feasibility of allowing, in a manner consistent with the Habitats Directive, some limited turf cutting within a small number of the 53 bogs.
However, it is only through devising such a plan that the flexibility allowed for by the Habitats Directive in certain circumstances can be unlocked. The Plan will involve a comprehensive examination of all of the SAC bogs on an individual basis with a view to best addressing the needs of turf-cutters and the long-term management of raised bog habitats within our SACs.
In terms of accommodating the needs of turf-cutters, the national plan will build upon the proposals made at the Peatlands Forum, which identified that relocation is a viable proposition for the majority of our SACs. Department officials are now in discussion with a number of groups to bring forward proposals for their bogs.
In addtion, the Department has now finalised an outline document on the proposed approach for the development of the National Plan:
National Raised Bog SAC MG Plan - Proposed Approach [PDF] [470kb]
In 2011, the National Parks and Wildlife Service undertook a number of Public Information Clinics to provide information and to assist people in applying for the Compensation Schemes relating to the Cessation of Turf Cutting in Designated Raised Bogs.
Clincs were held as follows:
14th, 15th & 16th June 2011 in St. Kevins GAA Club in Castlerea, Co. Roscommon.
22nd June 2011 in Clara Bog Visitor Centre, Clara, Co Offaly.
28th June 2011 in Glenamaddy Community Centre, Glenamaddy, Co. Galway
29th June 2011 in Shannon Oaks Hotel, Portumna, Co. Galway.
19th July 2011 in The Parish Centre, Prosperous, Co. Kildare (for Ballynafagh Bog SAC)
20th July 2011 in The Community Centre, Ferbance, Co. Offaly (for Moyclare Bog SAC and Ferbane Bog SAC)
On 23rd May 2011, Minister Jimmy Deenihan TD, outlined the position regarding the enforcement of the cessation of turf cutting on the 31 Raised Bog Special Areas of Conservation. The Press Release on Illegal Turf Cutting [PDF] [15kb] can be viewed here.