Longford-Westmeath Fianna Fáil TD, Robert Troy, has called on the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan, to be more forceful in Europe to properly represent the interests of Irish turf cutters.
Deputy Troy has questioned Minister Jimmy Deenihan in the Dáil about the plight of turf cutters who remain unable to cut turf while they await a national conservation plan.
“At the very least, the Minister must make an effort to secure agreement from Europe for a limited level of turf cutting in a small number of bogs while alternative sites are identified. We have seen the Minister raise everyone’s expectations before about the report but still nothing has happened,” he said.
“Many turf cutters have been promised compensation in lieu of their work but they have been waiting far too long for it. This is creating a disincentive for others who may be considering signing up. The Minister needs to pay attention to this. There have also been reports of his Department using the defence forces to fly planes to spy on ordinary decent people looking to cut turf, this is wholly unacceptable. There are a number of small turf cutters in Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) that can’t cut turf, they need to be supported.”