IFA Offaly County Chairman, Joe Parlon, has called on the Minister for Heritage Jimmy Deenihan to extend the compensation on offer for farmers restricted from turf cutting in SAC bogs from the current 15 years to the lifetime of the bog.
Mr. Parlon was speaking following a meeting of turf-cutters from the midlands counties said that it is not acceptable that there is a cut off point for the compensation as the requirement of turf goes a long way beyond the 15 year period. Furthermore, it is vital that the compensation level is increased from €1,000 to €2,000.
The Offaly Chairman said that a number of options must be put to turf-cutters to include relocation, where appropriate, compensation for an extended period, and the purchase of turf for the lifetime of the bog.
Mr. Parlon also called for an early assessment of 75 NHA bogs, many of them in the midlands, which the Minister intends to close for turf-cutting in 2014. Many of these bogs must be taken out of designation as they are designated under national legislation where the Minister has more say compared to the EU Habitats Directive.