IFA SAC Project Chairman Padraic Divilly has described the announcement by the Minister for Heritage Jimmy Deenihan of an improved offer for farmers and turfcutters who are being forced to cease turf-cutting on 55 designated SAC bogs as ‘a step in the right direction’.
Following a meeting with Minister Deenihan, Mr Divilly said that the increase of 50% on the previous compensation offer for a period of 15 years, as well as a once-off incentive payment of €500 will go a long way to addressing the loss of turf-cutting rights. The new payment of €1,500 per annum will be index-linked and this will offset to some extent fuel inflation.
The Minister has also confirmed that the new enhanced package will also be available to those who already applied for the old compensation scheme. This will involve switching from one scheme to another, where the new scheme is more beneficial.
Padraic Divilly welcomed the offer to increase the turf supply from 10 tonnes to 15 tonnes per annum. Also, where there are multiple uses of plots, turf will be supplied to each user.
Commenting on the Quirke Report following the Turf-Cutting Forum in Athlone, Mr Divilly commented, “It is disappointing that the Report did not recommend the de-designation of a small number of bogs, where turf-cutting could take place under a management structure. It is clear from the Report that re-location is the preferred option for most farmers and turf-cutters.”