Written answers

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs

Turbary Rights

9:00 pm

Photo of Robert TroyRobert Troy (Longford-Westmeath, Fianna Fail)
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Question 378: To ask the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in relation to cessation of turf cutting on certain bogs if he will clarify if he has ring fenced sufficient finance to compensate effected families; if the compensation paid out will reflect the number of households who benefit from the use of the plot of bog seeking to be included in the compensation scheme; if he will clarify whether the right of ownership ceases once an applicant completes and submits compensation form; and the person responsible if any future liability arises on a plot of bog which is included in the compensation scheme. [7962/12]

Photo of Jimmy DeenihanJimmy Deenihan (Minister, Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht; Kerry North-West Limerick, Fine Gael)
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In April 2011, the Government announced a redress package for those affected by the cessation of turf cutting on raised bog special areas of conservation. This Cessation of Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme offers qualifying turf cutters the option of a financial payment of €1,000 per year, index linked, over 15 years or, where feasible, relocation to non-designated bogs, where they can continue to cut turf. Those wishing to relocate can avail of the financial payment or the delivery of cut turf while relocation sites are identified and prepared. The costs of acquiring and preparing relocation sites will be met by the State. I have ensured that sufficient funding is being made available in 2012 in respect of this scheme.

The Cessation of Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme is designed to compensate the owner of the land or turbary rights. I am conscious that there are individuals sharing plots and my Department is giving consideration to this issue at present.

The completion of a Cessation of Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme application form and its submission to my Department is not legally binding on the applicant.However, those who qualify for and receive compensation will be required to enter into a legal agreement with me, as Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. This legal agreement will set out the responsibilities and obligations of the owner of the land or turbary right and of the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. It will also confirm that ownership of the property will not pass to the Minister but will remain in the ownership of the applicant.

Photo of Robert TroyRobert Troy (Longford-Westmeath, Fianna Fail)
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Question 379: To ask the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the future proposals for Mount Heavey Bog, County Westmeath [7963/12]

Photo of Jimmy DeenihanJimmy Deenihan (Minister, Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht; Kerry North-West Limerick, Fine Gael)
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Mount Hevey Bog is situated approximately 4 kilometres north-east of Kinnegad, in the townlands of Cloncrave, White Island, Aghamore, Kilwarden and Kilnagalliagh. The site comprises raised bog, which is listed under Annex I of the European Union Habitats Directive, and has been designated as a special area of conservation (SAC). Mount Hevey Bog is one of 24 raised bog SACs affected, from the end of last year, by the cessation of turf cutting.

In April 2011, the Government announced a redress package for those affected by the cessation of turf cutting on raised bog SACs. The package offers qualifying turf cutters the option of a financial payment of €1,000 per year, index linked, over 15 years or, where feasible, relocation to non-designated bogs, where they can continue to cut turf. Those wishing to relocate can avail of the financial payment or the delivery of cut turf while relocation sites are identified and prepared. The costs of acquiring and preparing relocation sites will be met by the State.

In December 2011 my Department wrote to known owners of land and rights in the 24 SACs in question to inform them of the cessation of turf cutting in these sites and to invite applications for compensation. Advertisements have also been placed in local and national papers. The deadline for the receipt of applications for compensation is the end of February 2012.

Once turf cutting has ended on raised bog SACs, a conservation objective will be drawn up and a draft management plan will be discussed with local land owners for each designated site. These issues will be considered within the wider context of a national strategy on peatland conservation and management.

Qualifying turf cutters on Mount Hevey Bog may avail of the financial payment or, where feasible, relocation. In respect of relocation, my Department is in discussion with several groups of turf cutters from different bogs with a view to reaching satisfactory solutions at a local level. Agreement has been concluded with groups from Clara Bog in County Offaly and from Carrownagappul and Curraghlehanagh SACs in County Galway. These solutions involved turf cutters moving to nearby Bord na Móna bogs to continue turf cutting. My Department is also in discussions as regards relocation possibilities for Mount Hevey Bog.

Photo of John O'MahonyJohn O'Mahony (Mayo, Fine Gael)
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Question 381: To ask the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the number of bogs for turf cutting in County Mayo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8042/12]

Photo of Jimmy DeenihanJimmy Deenihan (Minister, Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht; Kerry North-West Limerick, Fine Gael)
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I assume that the Deputy is referring to peat bogs in County Mayo that have been designated for protection as Natural Heritage Areas (NHAs) under the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000 or as Special Areas of Conservation (SACs). These are set out in the Table.

The relevant legislation also regulates certain uses of these bogs, including turf extraction. Turf extraction may also be subject to controls under the Planning and Development Acts or require Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control licensing, depending on the nature of the activity.

Site NameLocationType of bogType of designation
Carrowmore Lake ComplexMayoBlanket BogSAC
Glenamoy Bog ComplexMayoBlanket BogSAC
Lough Gall BogMayoBlanket BogSAC
Owenduff/Nephin ComplexMayoBlanket BogSAC
Slieve Fyagh BogMayoBlanket BogSAC
Lough Hoe BogMayo & SligoBlanket BogSAC
Bellacorick Bog ComplexMayoBlanket BogSAC
Mweelrea/Sheeffry/Erriff ComplexMayoBlanket BogSAC
Ox Mountains BogsMayo & SligoBlanket BogSAC
Bangor Erris BogMayoBlanket BogNHA
Ummerantarry BogMayoBlanket BogNHA
Croaghmoyle MountainMayoBlanket BogNHA
Cunnagher More BogMayoBlanket BogNHA
Doogort East BogMayoBlanket BogNHA
Ederglen BogMayoBlanket BogNHA
Forrew BogMayoBlanket BogNHA
Glenturk More BogMayoBlanket BogNHA
Inagh BogMayoBlanket BogNHA
Lough Greney BogMayoBlanket BogNHA
Pollatomish BogMayoBlanket BogNHA
Sraheens BogMayoBlanket BogNHA
Tawnymackan BogMayoBlanket BogNHA
Tristia BogMayoBlanket BogNHA
Lough CorribGalway and MayoRaised BogSAC
Tullaghan Bay And BogMayoBlanket BogNHA
Flughany BogMayo and SligoRaised BogSAC
River MoyMayo, Roscommon and SligoRaised BogSAC

If the Deputy has a particular query in relation to any other bog not listed in the Table above, I will be glad to make enquiries if he provides the requisite details.

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