'Offaly turf cutters backed into a corner by green policy' - TD
Laois-Offaly TD Brian Stanley has hit out at a legal challenge being taken against turfcutting in the Midlands.
Sinn Fein TD Brian Stanley says “that the High Court case taken by The Friends of the Irish Environment last October to have Green policy implemented and to ban turf cutting and peat harvesting on Bord na Mona bogs, has backed Bord na Mona and domestic turf cutters into a corner. I have had numerous complaints from turf cutters regarding the impossible situation that they find themselves in."
“The outcome of the High Court case last October means that peat cannot be harvested commercially or for domestic fuel on Bord na Mona land exceeding 30 hectares. This has created a situation in Laois / Offaly where contractors who would have cut domestic fuel for householders on Bord na Mona bog every year, have been banned from doing so.
"Bord na Mona have been trying to get 'substitute planning consent’ since the start of this year from An Bord Pleanála. A decision on this was to be made in March and just two weeks ago Bord na Mona were granted leave to apply for this consent.
"This means that the entire peat harvest, if it commences at all, will not begin until June at the earliest. It also means that domestic turf cutting contractors and those communities across Laois/Offaly who are depending on them for fuel, have had this year’s supply put in jeopardy and possibly completely stopped. Three months of dry weather has been lost due to court ruling.
"This whole situation is outrageous in that green policy is denying Midlands communities work and source of fuel for homes, in many cases the only fuel that is available to them.
"I am calling on Fianna Fail and Fine Gael to now ensure that the programme for Government they are negotiating with the Green party, contains an explicit commitment to allow the cutting of turf to continue for domestic fuel on Bord na Mona bogs. There is now a direct onus on Fianna Fail and Fine Gael TDs and councillors to make sure this happens."