The Government has put in place a compensation scheme for those affected by the cessation of turf cutting on raised bog special areas of conservation. This cessation of turf cutting compensation scheme now comprises a payment of €1,500 per year, index linked, for 15 years or, where feasible, relocation of turf cutters to non-designated bogs where they can continue to cut turf. Those wishing to relocate can avail of the financial payment or the delivery of 15 tonnes of cut turf per annum while relocation sites are identified and prepared. The costs of acquiring and preparing relocation sites will be met by the State. An additional once-off payment of €500 for qualifying turf cutters will be provided where legal agreements are signed with me, as Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
One of the qualifying criteria for the cessation of turf cutting compensation scheme is that the claimant must have been cutting turf on the lands in question in the relevant five year period. If, however, an individual has a legal interest in one of the 53 designated raised bog sites and had not been extracting turf in the relevant five year period, my Department is willing to examine the feasibility of relocating such interests to alternative non-designated bogs. It is not proposed to make the financial payment in such cases.
I understand that the individual referred to in the Deputy's Question had not been extracting turf from the site in the relevant five year period and has not expressed an interest in relocation to an alternative non-designated bog. My Department will be writing to him in relation to his position in due course.