Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Questions (1605)

Michael Healy-Rae


1605. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if he will address a matter (details supplied) regarding turf cutting; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18626/19]

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Written answers (Question to Culture)

As set out in my reply to Question No. 227 of 27 February 2019 and as set out in the National Raised Bog Special Areas of Conservation Management Plan 2017-2022, the site referred to in the Deputy's Question is one of the sites being examined as regards the potential for domestic turf cutting on the site in accordance with the provisions of article 6.3 of the EU Habitats Directive.

For the smaller plot of land within the proposed domestic turf cutting area in the south of the site, the results of scientific investigations conclude that turf cutting there would not have an adverse impact on the (ecological) integrity of the special area of conservation site. Domestic turf cutting could take place there subject to consent being received and consultation with the landowner and turbary right holders, if any.

For the larger plot of land within the proposed turf cutting area, the findings of concentrated geophysical and hydrological investigations indicate that any turf cutting there would require monitoring of the turf cutting for an estimated period of a year to assess the level of risk of peat failure (bog burst). In advance of any turf cutting taking place in this area, consent would also be required from the relevant public authority and consultation would have to take place with the landowner and turbary right holders, if any.

Officials from my Department as well as contractors engaged by it will continue to liaise with the Deputy and local turf cutter representatives in relation to this issue.