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Turf Cutting

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 22 July 2020

Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Questions (28)

Denis Naughten

Question:

28. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the status of the relocation of turfcutters; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17117/20]

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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, including the establishment of a long-term compensation scheme for affected turf cutters. This cessation of turf cutting compensation scheme, established in 2011, 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.

280 applicants under this scheme have applied for and are awaiting relocation to a non-designated bog. The relocation of turf cutters is a complex process. Notwithstanding this, progress in relocation has been achieved in a number of cases. 101 turf cutters from 12 different raised bog designated sites have been relocated to non-designated bogs. Another 5 sites are at various stages of development as relocation bogs. These could potentially accommodate up to 39 turf cutters.

For certain designated sites, where the relocation of turf cutters has not been feasible, the 15 years of annual payments under the cessation of turf cutting compensation schemes (less any annual payments or the value of turf deliveries already received under the scheme) has been made available in the form of a lump sum to these turf cutters. So far, 71 turf cutters have availed of this option from 14 raised bog special areas of conservation and 2 raised bog natural heritage areas.

In addition, within the framework of the National Raised Bog Special Areas of Conservation Management Plan 2017-2022, the Department is considering the available options in terms of relocation and the provisions of the Habitats Directive to provide for domestic turf cutting within certain areas of raised bog special areas of conservation. 14 sites are under consideration for the application of article 6 of the Directive.

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