Minister for Arts and Heritage Heather Humphreys must be “living in cloud cuckoo land” is she thinks that the turf cutting issue is solved according to Independent TD for Roscommon South Leitrim and the Chairman of the Turfcutters Association Michael Fitzmaurice
The matter was raised at a cabinet meeting this week. Minister Humphreys claims that the vast majority of plot owners are co-operating with the scheme and she claims that to date more than 3,200 plot owners have applied for compensation under the scheme introduced by the government. She claimed that there was an 80% compliance rate and that w12 million had been paid out in compensation payments and on the delivery of free turf.
However Deputy Fitzmaurice says that the Minister’s figures are wrong. “Only 1,500 plot owners have signed up to the scheme out of a total of 9,000 which is a long way from 80%.
“Despite all the warnings from Europe, Ireland have not paid one cent in fines for turf-cutting”
“The facts are that turf was cut on 30 of the 53 disputed bogs last year. We are always available to sit down and talk about this problem and there are talks planned again for February 19th.
“But if they continue to force this issue we will continue to cut our turf, If Minister Humphreys thinks that this issue is solved then she is living in cloud cuckoo land” he concluded.