Minister’s cousins and neighbours oppose bogs plan

A report to the Government on the turf-cutting debate has noted that the cousins and neighbours of the minister responsible for convincing the affected communities remain set against the controversial environmental directive.

It said the neighbours of Heritage Minister Jimmy Deenihan on the Moanvenlagh Bog in north Kerry do not want anyone to go to jail because of the standoff.

However, the community said it does not want to vacate the bog to move to alternative sites up to 24km away.

The report, published by Mr Deenihan last night, said the community had no choice but to stop cutting because it was on the list of protected sights on the controversial European habitats directive.

The observations were contained in the report on the consultation process, chaired by Mr Justice John Quirke, which assessed the strength of feelings in affected bogs around the country.

He said the turf-cutting community was made up of law-abiding people who found themselves faced with the prospect of breaking the law. He called for all sides, including the European Commission, to come together in a bid to reach a compromise.

“Innovation is required because resolution of these difficulties cannot be achieved within the time available to the parties. Some means must be found to overcome this problem,” he said.

His report arose out of the peatlands forum, which was convened to allow bog users around the country to express their views. It attracted over 140 submissions from 50 communities.

There are 40 families affected in the Moanvenlagh Bog area and representatives have been among those involved in pickets of Mr Deenihan’s constituency office in Listowel.

Mr Justice Quirke’s report said this bog had just 10 years left in use and there had been no communication with the users of the land.

Last night Mr Deenihan spelled out the improved compensation package which will be made available to those forced to abandon their bogs.

This will involve a €1,500 annual payment for 15 years a €500 up-front lump sum.


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