18 Aug 2022

Calls for Bord na Mona to withdraw 'turf cutting prohibition'

Calls for Bord na Mona to withdraw 'turf cutting prohibition'

Calls for Bord na Mona to withdraw 'turf cutting prohibition'

Independent TD for Laois-Offaly Carol Nolan has said that she will be engaging with the office of  Bord na Mona Chief Executive Tom Donnellan to seek a review of the company’s decision to deny turf cutting rights to those who had previously extracted turf on Bord na Mona bogs.

Deputy Nolan was speaking as a sense of frustration and disappointment continues to grow following Bord na Mona’s notification of prohibition to all those who were previously granted a licence to extract peat on Bord na Mona lands:

In the letter to turf cutters, Bord na Mona stated that it owns "approximately 7% of Irish peatlands" and acknowledged that these bogs have been used for milling peat for many years.

The letter added that in 2019, the High Court ruled that peat extraction operations, on bogs over 30 hectares, requires planning permission, adding, "we can confirm that the situation regarding turf cutting will remain the same as it has been since 2019 when we last allowed contractors and licenced operators to cut turf on our land."

It continued: "We are writing to you now, as we are aware that, prior to the 2019 ruling, you were previously granted a licence to extract peat on Bord na Mona lands. The purpose of this letter is to notify you that the company will not be able to grant you any further licence for the purposes of peat extraction on any Bord na Mona land."

Deputy Carol Nolan said: “I think at this stage turf cutters and indeed their families and supporters right across the constituency are just weary of the apparent indifference and disregard being displayed by Bord na Mona at every turn.

"This latest decision is causing real hurt to many families who for a long time have been engaged in a traditional and cherished past time.

"They want to see the practice retained and their rights respected, and this is what I feel Bord na Mona should be doing with its time instead of sending curt, legalistic and blunt letters.

"It is the very least the company could do in terms of extending a meaningful gesture of goodwill to the turf cutters.

"Offering them an email address to contact if they had any problem with the denial of rights to access the bogs was not the way to go about building up understanding or positive engagement.

"For many it is yet another instance of the inability of Bord na Mona to fully appreciate the kind of emotional and cultural investment that many families have in the bogs; an investment that goes way beyond the financial or legal aspects of this entire debate,” concluded Deputy Nolan.

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