Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Questions (1314)

Carol Nolan

Question:

1314. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if the protection of the turf cutting tradition will be ensured; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4219/20]

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Written answers (Question to Culture)

Ireland, like all EU Member States, is bound by the requirements of the Habitats Directive and the Birds Directive. These Directives aim to ensure the protection of habitats and species which have been selected for conservation within special areas of conservation and special protection areas.

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 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 National Raised Bog Special Areas of Conservation Management Plan 2017–2022 sets out how the raised bog special areas of conservation are to be managed, conserved and restored and how the needs of turf cutters are to be addressed. This plan, as well as the National Peatlands Strategy, recognises that domestic turf cutters have a traditional right to cut turf and that this right is balanced with the conservation objectives for designated raised bogs and the legal obligations on the State.