“Fine Gael will allow a roll over exemption for domestic turf cutting on these 75 bogs, subject to the introduction of an agreed environmentally rational code of practice,” explained Denis Naughten.
“In addition, Fine Gael will establish independent mediation between all relevant stakeholders with the specific objective of facilitating a resolution to the 55 SAC designated bogs. Mediation will also be made available to resolve the outstanding issues associated with turf cutting on blanket bogs.
“Fine Gael has long believed that it was premature to forbid the cutting of turf for domestic purposes in 2011, which resulted from a very conservative and restrictive interpretation of the Habitats Directive. Our objective is to allow traditional turf cutting for domestic purposes to co-exist with the implementation of EU Habitats directives.
“Over the last number of years I have worked closely with the Turf Cutters & Contractors Association and listened – when the Government refused to do so – to the cost-effective solution put forward by the group can form the basis of a long-term agreed solution. By working together I believe we have reached an agreement which will address the concerns of all parties,” concluded Denis Naughten.