01/06/12 – Latest developments in turf issue show progress, flexibility of compensation scheme – Deenihan
• Relocation bog comes on stream in Offaly, first deliveries of turf now taking place in Galway
• Almost 600 compensation payments have now been made, more than 2,000 applications received
• More than 835,000 euro paid in compensation so far this year, of a total 2012 allocation of 5 million euro
Friday, June 1st – Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, has welcomed the commencement this week of two important provisions of the Cessation of Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme.
This compensation scheme has in-built flexibility to take account of the different needs of affected turf cutters. Those wishing to apply for financial compensation can benefit from a 23,000 euro package – index linked and tax free – payable over 15 years.
However, those wishing to continue cutting turf can apply for relocation to a new bog, if available, and whilst this is being examined can receive 15 tonnes of turf, delivered to their home to ensure they have enough fuel for the coming winter.
This week, both of these provisions in the compensation scheme have been commenced with the first of the relocation bogs coming on stream and the first deliveries of turf to homes also beginning.
24 turf cutters in County Offaly have commenced cutting turf on a Bord na Móna relocation bog in Clara. Working in partnership, turf-cutters, Minister Deenihan’s Department and Bord na Móna have made available a section of an undesignated bog close to Clara Bog Special Area of Conservation (SAC). The turf cutters involved are now legally entitled to cut their turf on this Bord na Móna bog for 65 years, while maintaining their interest in Clara Bog SAC. The Clara turf-cutters have pioneered a model for how the needs of turf-cutters can be addressed through constructive and co-operative engagement.
In addition, following the recent award of a contract by Minister Deenihan’s Department for the sourcing and transport of turf, the first deliveries of 15 tonnes of turf per applicant are being made in Mountbellew, County Galway to the homes of turf-cutters from two SACs who have agreed to relocate to a nearby undesignated bog. Their relocation bog is currently being prepared and will be ready for turf-cutting in 2013.
Minister Jimmy Deenihan TD commented:
‘Coming from rural Ireland I understand the depth of feeling on this issue. The bog on which my own family cut turf for more than 100 years is one of those now being preserved and protected. However, these latest developments are very significant as they show the way forward in resolving this issue and highlight the flexibility of the compensation scheme that has been put in place by Government.
‘I want to pay tribute to those who have worked with us on this issue and who are now able to return to turf cutting legally or are receiving their deliveries of turf to their home. Latest developments in Offaly and Galway show that – by working together – we can find real and workable solutions for affected turf cutters.’