Level of compensation for turf cutters criticised

OFFALY members of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) have called for a fairer deal to be awarded to turf cutters following the announcement by the Government on a compensation package.

OFFALY members of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) have called for a fairer deal to be awarded to turf cutters following the announcement by the Government on a compensation package.

The Government has announced details of a compensation package for turf-cutters who will no longer be allowed to cut turf on raised bogs in the West and Midlands, because of new EU environmental regulations. The scheme will involve payments of up to €15,000 to individual turf-cutters. The decision has been criticised by Paddy Kent, Leinster Vice President of the ICSA.

“This is not a realistic compensation package for the turf cutters. The package is outdated as it does not reflect the high energy costs that we must contend with on a daily basis.

“A realistic compensation package that provides for the life time cessation of turf cutting should be drawn up. The payment should adequately reflect the replacement value of the annual quantity of turf and the cost of an alternative heating source,” he commented.

Mr Kent continued, “Turf cutting in Ireland has long been a tradition and an effective source of inexpensive heating fuel for many rural families. The availability of turf has meant that many small farms are sustainable because of the reduced input costs, to increase costs in the current climate will seriously impact on farm viability.

“Offaly ICSA believes the cessation of turf cutting is untimely in the current economic climate and a further derogation should be requested. We have to be very worried by where this decision will actaully end. 24 more bogs will be closed down before the end of the year but we are fearing that this is only the beginning,” he concluded.