Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Questions (689)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

689. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if matters in relation to a bog (details supplied) in County Kerry will be examined; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21620/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

As set out in my reply to Question No. 1605 of 8 May 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 domestic turf cutting could take place there subject to consent being received and consultation with the landowner and turbary right holders, if any.

I am advised that my Department has written to the relevant individuals with a view to making further progress on this issue. In addition, the matter of the consent required for the proposed activity is currently being assessed.

For the larger plot of land within the proposed turf cutting area, scientific equipment has been installed there.  This will facilitate monitoring of this area for an estimated  period of a year to assess the level of risk of peat failure (bog burst). I understand that it is essential that no turf cutting takes place in this area during the monitoring period.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank local turf cutter representatives and the Deputy for their assistance in trying to resolve this complex issue. Officials from my Department as well as contractors engaged by it will continue to liaise on the matter.