Turf Cutters counter state lies

by Mick Healy

On October 2011 Luke Ming Flanagan TD and PRO for the Turf Cutters and Contractors Association (TCCA), noted that “the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht , Jimmy Deenihan, had signed the EU Birds and Natural Habitats Directive which banned turf cutting while the matter was still in negotiation.”  He added that this ban occurred despite a compromise proposed by the TCCA whereby 80 per cent of 53 bogs in special areas of conservation would not be cut.

One year on and the Dublin government is continuing it’s offensive  against the turf cutters.

Following an extraordinary meeting of the TCCA in Birr Co. Offaly this year the group issued a strong statement disputing claims by the Department of Heritage on the success of the compensation scheme and efforts to resolve the standoff between the two sides.

Turf cutters say that the claim by Minister Jimmy Deenihan that turf was cut on only 11 of the 53 SACs is untrue;  turfcutters state turf was actually cut on 29 of the 53 SACs, in spite of threats and intimidation from the state. 

While turfcutters claim some owners may have applied for compensation, not all of them were active turf cutters.  The TCCA  have examples where  people have not cut for years and, in some cases, decades have received compensation.  The organisation says if the purpose of the compensation package was to discourage active turf cutters from practising their century’s old tradition, then it has been a failure.

Deenihan’s claims are related to his boast that he secured the suspension of EU court action against the Dublin Government based on the progress that’s been made.

Turf cutters now intend going to the EU Commission to express their side of the dispute.  They will state their desire to keep the path of communication open, but stress the authorities need to talk straight, listen, and engage in finding a solution that is acceptable for the turf cutters.

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Posted on November 7, 2012, in Democratic rights - general, Economy and workers' resistance, Irish politics today, Natural resources, Social conditions, Turf cutters, twenty-six counties. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Turf Cutters counter state lies.

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