Local bog owners affected by the turfcutting ban have had their plight highlighted in the European parliament this week.
Local Independent MEP Marian Harkin, expressed gratitude to stakeholders whom she said, were “actively trying to find a real, lasting solution” for turfcutters who have lost extraction rights on their family bogs due to EU environmental rules. The MEP had sought to act as an efficient intermediary between all those involved and admitted that while some mistakes were made, “real progress” in respect of the matter has been achieved. “I am very pleased that my calls from earlier this year for common-sense solutions have been heeded,” she added. “The Government has engaged on an individual basis with affected turfcutters and has variously offered compensation packages and relocation options. At sites where there are no viable relocation alternatives, it is now exploring the possibility of permitting turfcutting. We also have a national management plan in place and all these factors combined are giving us the best possible opportunity to getting a solution to this issue.”
The local MEP went on to say that she was “disappointed” with the Irish environmental group whose petition to the European Parliament in relation to turfcutting “ignored the human dimension of this ongoing issue”. “All parties seeking an equitable solution to this highly sensitive issue will agree that the Commission has taken an admirably balanced approach and has demonstrated a profound understanding of the Irish situation,” she concluded.