Tuesday, 21 February 2012
Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs
Jimmy Deenihan (Minister, Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht; Kerry North-West Limerick, Fine Gael)
The land referred to in the Deputy’s Question is situated is one of 24 raised bog special areas of conservation (SACs) affected, from the end of last year, by the cessation of turf cutting for reasons of environmental protection under the EU Habitats Directive.
In April 2011, the Government announced a redress package for those affected by the cessation of turf cutting in such cases. 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 cost 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 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.