Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Questions (275)

Denis Naughten

Question:

275. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the number of turf cutters displaced on each designated bog in which turf cutting has ceased in tabular form; the number who took compensation; the number who sought relocation; the number awaiting relocation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50560/19]

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Written answers (Question to Culture)

Significant efforts have been made by the State to resolve the issue of the protection of Ireland’s raised bog special areas of conservation and natural heritage areas within the framework of the EU Habitats Directive. This has included the establishment of the Peatlands Council, intensive and on-going engagement with turf cutting interests, the farming community, non-governmental organisations and with the European Commission, as well as the establishment of a long-term compensation scheme for affected turf cutters.

The cessation of turf cutting compensation scheme was established in 2011 for active turf cutters arising from the cessation of turf cutting on raised bog special areas of conservation and was extended in 2014 to include natural heritage areas. This scheme is applicable to turf cutters who have been affected by the designation of raised bogs as special areas of conservation and natural heritage areas and who fulfil the qualifying criteria of the scheme. It is comprised of a payment of €1,500 per annum, index-linked, for 15 years, or relocation, where feasible, to a non-designated bog, together with a legal agreement payment of €500.

2,569 applicants are regularly receiving annual payments under the scheme. There are other affected turf cutters, who may qualify under the scheme, who have not yet applied, and it remains open for these turf cutters to apply.

While applicants are waiting for relocation sites to be investigated, prepared and developed, they may, on an interim basis, opt for the annual payment of €1,500 (index-linked) or opt to receive an annual supply of up to 15 tonnes of cut turf delivered to their homes. To date, 1,150 deliveries of turf have been made to applicants.

Of the 2,569 applicants regularly receiving annual payments under the scheme, 263 have applied for relocation to a non-designated bog

Relocation of turf cutters is a complex process. Notwithstanding this, progress in relocation has been achieved in a number of cases and 72 turf cutters from 11 raised bog designated sites have been relocated to non-designated bogs. A further 4 relocation sites in counties Galway, Roscommon and Westmeath, which will accommodate up to 54 turf cutters, have been developed by my Department and are scheduled to be operational from 2020. Relocation sites for a further 6 special areas of conservation have been identified by the Department and are at various stages of development. These could accommodate up to approximately 50 turf cutters. The Department is still investigating suitable relocation sites for a further 7 raised bog special areas of conservation.

For certain designated sites, where a suitable relocation site has not been identified or where the identified relocation site cannot accommodate all applicants who have opted for relocation, the 15 year compensation under the cessation of turf cutting compensation scheme (less any annual payments or the value of turf deliveries received) has been made available to them in the form of a lump sum to enable them to source and purchase bog plots themselves. 61 turf cutters have availed of this option from 8 special areas of conservation and 3 natural heritage areas.

For a number of the protected sites, the non-designated site identified may not be suitable or may not have the capacity to cater for the number of turf cutters who may wish to relocate there. In such cases and within the framework of the National Raised Bog Special Areas of Conservation Management Plan 2017-2022, the Department, in consultation with turf cutter representatives, is considering the available options in terms of relocation and the provisions of the Habitats Directive to provide for turf cutting with certain areas of raised bog special areas of conservation. 14 sites are under consideration for the possible application of article 6 of the Directive.

Details on the number of applicants regularly receiving annual payments under the cessation of turf cutting compensation scheme and the number who have applied for relocation are set out in the following table.

Cessation of Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme

Site Code

Site Name

County of Bog

Number of applicants regularly receiving annual payments

Number of applicants regularly receiving annual payments who have applied for relocation

000006

Killyconny Bog (Cloghbally) cSAC

Roscommon

000221

Moorfield Bog/Farm Cottage NHA

Galway

13

0

000229

Ballygar Bog NHA

Galway

000231

Barroughter Bog cSAC

Galway

94

25

000235

Bracklagh Bog NHA

Galway

000248

Cloonmoylan Bog cSAC

Galway

101

0

000280

Castle Ffrench West Bog NHA

Galway

000281

Keeloges Bog NHA

Galway

20

0

000285

Kilsallagh Bog cSAC

Galway

61

7

000296

Lisnageeragh Bog and Ballinstack Turlough cSAC

Galway

15

2

000297

Lough Corrib cSAC

Galway

111

0

000301

Lough Lurgeen Bog/Glenamaddy Turlough cSAC

Galway

23

4

000307

Lough Tee Bog NHA

Galway

000321

Raford River Bog NHA

Galway

25

1

000326

Shankill West Bog cSAC

Galway

000333

Anna More Bog NHA

Kerry

12

0

000391

Ballynafagh Bog cSAC

Kildare

21

6

000422

Aghnamona Bog NHA

Leitrim

000440

Lough Ree cSAC

Roscommon

336

63

000497

Flughany Bog cSAC

Mayo/Sligo

11

0

000565

Clonydonnin Bog NHA

Westmeath

30

0

000566

All Saints Bog and Esker cSAC

Offaly

000572

Clara Bog cSAC

Offaly

45

2

000580

Mongan Bog cSAC

Offaly

000581

Moyclare Bog cSAC

Offaly

15

0

000585

Sharavogue Bog cSAC

Offaly

000592

Bellanagare Bog cSAC

Roscommon

182

10

000595

Callow Bog cSAC

Roscommon

92

5

000597

Carrowbehy/Caher Bog cSAC

Roscommon

000600

Cloonchambers Bog cSAC

Roscommon

21

1

000604

Derrinea Bog cSAC

Roscommon

000614

Cloonshanville Bog cSAC

Roscommon

000640

Arragh More Bog NHA

Tipperary

27

0

000641

Ballyduff/Clonfinane Bog cSAC

Tipperary

000642

Ballymacegan Bog NHA

Tipperary

000647

Kilcarren-Firville Bog cSAC

Tipperary

000674

Ballynagrenia and Ballinderry Bog NHA

Westmeath

63

2

000677

Cloncrow Bog (New Forest) NHA

Westmeath

000684

Lough Derravaragh NHA

Westmeath

12

0

000694

Wooddown Bog NHA

Westmeath

18

0

000937

Scohaboy Bog NHA

Tipperary

50

3

000993

Ayle Lower Bog NHA

Clare

001227

Aughrim Bog NHA

Galway

13

0

001242

Carrownagappul Bog cSAC

Galway

59

3

001244

Castle Ffrench East Bog NHA

Galway

001254

Derrinlough Bog NHA

Galway

17

1

001405

Cashel Bog (Leitrim) NHA

Leitrim

11

0

001450

Mount Jessop Bog NHA

Longford

001580

Girley Bog NHA

Meath

16

0

001623

Carrickynaghtan Bog NHA

Roscommon

38

0

001812

Lough Garr NHA

Westmeath

001818

Lough Forbes Complex cSAC

Longford

002033

Daingean Bog NHA

Offaly

13

0

002110

Corliskea/Trien/Cloonfelliv Bog cSAC

Galway/Roscommon

80

7

002298

River Moy cSAC

Mayo/Ros/Sligo

21

0

002331

Mouds Bog cSAC

Kildare

139

62

002332

Coolrain Bog cSAC

Laois

55

13

002333

Knockacoller Bog cSAC

Laois

18

5

002336

Carn Park Bog cSAC

Westmeath

45

2

002337

Crosswood Bog cSAC

Westmeath

59

2

002338

Drumalough Bog cSAC

Roscommon

18

1

002339

Ballynamona Bog and Corkip Lough cSAC

Roscommon

60

1

002340

Moneybeg and Clareisland Bogs cSAC

Westmeath

69

2

002341

Ardagullion Bog cSAC

Longford

23

0

002342

Mount Hevey Bog cSAC

Meath/Westmeath

38

2

002343

Tullaher Lough and Bog cSAC

Clare

31

0

002346

Brown Bog cSAC

Longford

002347

Camderry Bog cSAC

Galway

14

6

002348

Clooneen Bog cSAC

Longford

12

1

002349

Corbo Bog cSAC

Roscommon

49

6

002350

Curraghlehanagh Bog cSAC

Galway

33

5

002351

Moanveanlagh Bog cSAC

Kerry

28

0

002352

Monivea Bog cSAC

Galway

49

4

002353

Redwood Bog cSAC

Tipperary

73

0

002355

Hawkswood Bog NHA

Offaly

002356

Ardgraigue Bog cSAC

Galway

22

0

Grand Total

2569

263

Please note that where sites have small numbers of applicants, detailed information has not been shown as doing so risks disclosing personal information relating to the applicants. However, this data has been included in the total figures.