Turf cutters fear for their
INISHOWEN turf cutters
gathered in large numbers last week to protect their
long tradition of harvesting their own local source
Senator Cecilia Keaveney who attended the meeting,
fully backed the campaign by turf cutters on the
Magheradrommond bog between Quigley's Point and
Carndonagh. They have now been told that, despite it
being a blanket and not raised bog, the 3000-acre
Magheradrommand falls within a special area of
conservation (SAC) and must be protected.
"I have been told
repeatedly that raised bogs are the bogs that were
causing environmental concern. They were to be
bought out, compensation awarded and, where
possible, those who wished to continue would be
relocated to other bogland.
"It was clearly stated that blanket bogs were not
under discussion or threat.
Donegal only has
blanket bog. Those who are telling us now that the
goalposts have been moved slightly to include just
one bog in Donegal, which is in a SAC, have
questions to answer," said Senator Keaveney.
She said some people in the National Parks and
Wildlife Service had indicated they did not know why
this bog was singled out for special attention.
"When we look to the realities of what is being cut,
it is a relatively small amount. When we look to the
environmental argument, we hear the admission that
there are much more environmentally-sensitive areas.
When we look to historical practice and tradition
there remains the fact that people have turbary
rights written into their deeds," added the
She said that in an era of soaring oil and gas
prices it was perhaps the "endangered species of the
traditional turf cutter that needs protected most".
She said she had spoken to Rural Affairs Minister
Eamon O Cuív who reiterated his belief that people
on blanket bogs were entitled to cut turf whether in
an SAC or not.
Meanwhile, Senator Keaveney pledged to arrange a
meeting between the local turf cutters and
Enviroment Minister John Gormley in a bid to clarify