IFA SAC Project Chairman Padraic Divilly has called on the Minister for Heritage Jimmy Deenihan to introduce an improved offer for farmers who are being forced to cease turf-cutting on 51 designated SAC bogs.
Following a meeting with Minister Deenihan, Mr Divilly said that the compensation on offer must be doubled from €1,000 to €2,000, and must apply for the lifetime of the bog with a minimum of 30 years and must not be restricted to the current 15 years deadline.
Padraic Divilly said that before any deal is offered, every option must be given to turf-cutters. This would involve relocation for those who want to cut turf. “The supply of turf should also be provided for those that see it as the preferred option, where relocation is not suitable. Also a proper reimbursement scheme should be available for the loss of cutting rights.”
In the case of relocation, Mr Divilly said a disturbance payment must be offered as, in a lot of cases, the relocated bog is a long way from the restricted bog. Also, a 100% grant should be available to those who want to install an alternative heating system and/or insulation where necessary.
Mr. Divilly got a commitment from Minister Deenihan that the problem of proper title to the bog will be overcome in a flexible manner. “All users must be accommodated in a package of measures which protect the rights of all bog owners and people who use bogs to provide fuel for their homes.”