Over €4,500 compensation has been paid to Leitrim turfcutters

The Department is continuing to accept late applications for the cessation of turf cutting compensation scheme.

The Department is continuing to accept late applications for the cessation of turf cutting compensation scheme.

So far €3,042 has been paid to turf cutters of Cashel Bog and €1,521 has been paid to turf cutters on Rinn River Bog which borders Leitrim and Longford. These bogs are classified as raised bogs in Natural Heritage Areas.

Minister Heather Humphries released the figures after being requested by local Deputy Frank Feighan.

The cessation of turf cutting compensation scheme has been extended to land owners and turbary right holders affected by the restrictions on turf cutting in raised bog natural heritage areas.

She showed that to date,125 applications have been received and 32 payments have been made at a cost of over €48,000 to applicants from these sites.

“In the region of 2,000 individual applicants have received payments to date under the turf cutting compensation scheme for raised bog special areas of conservation.

“The closing date for the receipt of applications generally has passed for raised bog special area of conservation sites.

“However, my Department will continue to accept late applications under the scheme for the time being,” she explained.

Fine Gael Deputy for Roscommon South Leitrim Frank Feighan also asked the Department for details of the bog relocation scheme.

Minister Humphries said out of 3,000 applications for compensation, 824 applicants have expressed an interest in relocation to non-designated bogs.

“As the Deputy will appreciate, relocation is a complex process, in terms of investigating suitable sites for turf quality and quantity; the infrastructure/drainage works required; establishing the number that can be accommodated on the site; the cost and feasibility of land purchase or lease and possible planning and Environmental Impact Assessment requirements.”

She said the Department are still working with turfcutters and bog owners on the issue of relocation.

A payment of €1,500, index-linked, or a supply of 15 tonnes of cut turf per annum, is available under the cessation of turf cutting compensation scheme to qualifying applicants while awaiting relocation to non-designated bogs.

A number of bye-election candidates have mentioned the plight of local turf cutters in their election campaigns.