Stand Together to keep bogs open

A GROUP called ‘Stand Together’ will hold a meeting in the Bridge House next week to garner support to reverse the Government decision in relation to bog cutting.

A GROUP called ‘Stand Together’ will hold a meeting in the Bridge House next week to garner support to reverse the Government decision in relation to bog cutting.

The meeting will centre around the right to cut turf with guest speaker on the night Michael Fitzmaurice, a life long campaigner for turf cutting rights.

In May of last year Minister John Gormley, confirmed that the derogation granted in 1999 to allow a continuation of non-commercial turf-cutting had ended for 32 raised bog Special Areas of Conservation (SACs). Bogs affected in Offaly include All Saints Bog and Esker, Clara Bog, Ferbane Bog, Mongan Bog, Moyclare Bog, Raheenmore Bog and Sharavogue Bog. Further turf-cutting or associated drainage works on these sites cannot proceed without the express consent of the Minister. It is estimated that about 750 people have been harvesting turf from the list of 32 bogs in recent years.

“A lot of people are angry and sick of nothing being done,” said a spokesperson for Stand Together. A recent meeting held by the organisation in Athlone saw over 7,500 people in attendance.

“It was held in the Hodson Bay and people who turned up actually had to leave as there was nowhere to park. They were parked all the way from Hodson Bay up to the main road,” they said.

Stand Together are urging people to attend the Tullamore meeting in advance of the General Election, to ensure political support. The group said they want the decision to prevent certain bogs being cut reversed saying that one in every two Offaly people has some connection with turf, be it through cutting, supplying machinery etc.

The meeting takes place in the Bridge House Hotel Tullamore on Tuesday, February 15 at 8pm and all are welcome.

For more information contact Joe on 087 2789712 or Hillary on 087 9547359.