Deputy Barry Cowen is putting pressure on the Government to press ahead with plans to de-list a number of bogs across the Midlands, which have unnecessarily been listed as National Heritage sites.
The Offaly Deputy raised the matter with the Taoiseach in the Dáil this week asking the Government for an update on plans to free up turf cutting on number of these sites.
“I have raised this matter with the Government on several occasions, highlighting the need to remove National Heritage status from a number of bogs across the Midlands that are currently restricted unnecessarily,” said Deputy Cowen.
“The Department of Heritage is currently engaged in a process of reducing the number of bogs classified as national heritage sites by around 50 – 80%. We need to speed up this process. The delays mean unnecessary restrictions on turf-cutting in bogs like Blackcastle, Dangean, Hawkswoo, Screggan and, Cloghan Castle in Offaly.
“The Taoiseach informed me that the Government is awaiting a report on the matter in the coming weeks before deciding on legislation. However turf-cutters who need to make plans for next year need to know what circumstances they will be operating under, and whether or not they need to apply for a special dispensation.
“I am calling on the Government to move these plans on quickly. The economy of Offaly and the Midlands stands to benefit from freer arrangements on turf-cutting.”