Tuesday, 17 September 2019
Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme Payments
696. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the reason for the ongoing delays in issuing arrears to a person (details supplied) under the turf cutting compensation scheme in view of the fact they were informed the assessment was completed and successful and that payments would be backdated to 2011; if the matter will be expedited; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37009/19]
An application for compensation under the cessation of turf cutting compensation scheme has been received by my Department from the individual referred to in the Deputy’s question. With respect to 53 raised bog special areas of conservation sites, the qualifying criteria for the scheme are that:
- The applicant must have had a legal interest (ownership or a turbary right (right to cut turf)) in one of these sites on 25 May 2010 and must have had the right to cut and remove turf from the property on that date;
- The applicant must have been cutting turf on the land in question during the relevant five year period (up to 25 May 2010 in respect of the 29 raised bog special areas of conservation nominated for designation between 1997 and 1999 and up to 31 December 2011 in respect of the 24 raised bog special areas of conservation nominated for designation in 2002);
- The turf resource on the site has not been exhausted; and
- No turf cutting or associated activity is ongoing on the property.
Following processing of the application and various correspondence with the applicant and the Deputy, an annual payment under the scheme issued for the year 2019.
Applicants are advised, when payments issue, that my Department continues to check that all of the qualifying criteria of the scheme have been met and further payments are subject to verification by my Department of the relevant details.
On further examination of the application, it was established that additional information was required. The majority of the requested information and documentation has recently been received. However, further information is awaited from Bord na Móna. Once this information is received, my Department will review the application, in view of the qualifying criteria for the scheme.