03/10/12 – Deenihan updates Dáil Éireann on turf issues and compensation payments
• 1,461 compensation payments now made, further applications being processed
• €2.28 million expended on compensation scheme to date
• 3,060 tonnes of turf delivered or approved for delivery to date
Wednesday, October 3rd – Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, has provided an update to Dáil Éireann on the progress made in relation to the protection of 53 raised bog Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and in the administration of the Cessation of Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme.
To date, 1,461 compensation payments have been made. 58 deliveries of turf have also been made, with a further 146 turf deliveries approved by the Department. This brings total expenditure on the compensation scheme to €2.28 million and total delivered and approved turf for delivery to 3,060 tonnes.
The Cessation of Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme comprises a payment of €1,500 per year, index linked and tax free, for 15 years or, where feasible, relocation of turf cutters to non-designated bogs where they can continue to cut turf. An additional once-off payment of €500 for qualifying turf cutters will be provided where legal agreements are signed with the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, bringing the total compensation package to €23,000 per applicant.
Minister Deenihan commented:
“We are making steady progress on this issue. There is still much to be done, but I want to acknowledge those affected turf cutters who are working with us to find a long term solution to this issue, and who are engaging with my Department to access either financial compensation, a delivery of turf, or an alternative location where they can continue to cut turf legally.
“It is by working together to implement the Irish and European law that protects the 53 special raised bogs we can arrive at a point where these unique habitats are preserved whilst ensuring that turf cutters have compensation or an alternative location to cut. With close to 1,500 compensation applications processed, and alternative bogs being sourced in a number of locations, we are certainly moving closer to that point.
“One of my core priorities has been to put in place a fair and easily accessible compensation and relocation scheme for affected turf cutters. This scheme has now delivered a financial injection of more than €2.28 million to homes across rural Ireland, which I believe is a valuable boost – especially at this time.
“Ireland’s raised bogs are unique in Europe – they preserve a wealth of wildlife, are a fundamentally important part of our heritage and landscape, and are also important carbon sinks and play a significant role in flood protection.”