The IrishPeatland Conservation Council are calling on Minister Jimmy Deenihan of theDepartment of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht to get tough on those responsible for illegally cutting turf from raised bog SACs this season.
“It is a shamefuldisgrace that following on from all the work that has been done to reach anaccord to ensure that all turf cutters with a stake in the 53 raised bogsearmarked for conservation have a supply of fuel, that people still feel theneed to go out and destroy the natural heritage of Ireland and to celebratethis behaviour using social media sites” says Dr Catherine O’Connell, ChiefExecutive of the IPCC.
Over the past 12months much progress has been made by all stakeholders through respresentationon the Peatlands Council, the Peat Forum, the publication of the Quirke Report,the public consultation on the development of a national peatland strategy forIreland, the free annual delivery of 15,000 tonnes of turf to each family who have turbary rightsin one of the 53 raised bog SACs and lastly the provision of financialcompensation.
There’s more tothe bog than turf and there is strong lobby of support for the Save the BogsCampaign which has been running in Ireland for 30 years this year. Bogs providea wide variety of services to people including a source of water, a naturalcarbon storing bank, a refuge for endangered plants and animals, a method ofcontrolling flooding and an amenity for people. “Those who continue to destroyour natural heritage and take for granted what has been given for free do notrepresent the Irish Peatland Conservation Council or its supporters” says DrCatherine O’Connell, Chief Executive of the IPCC. “Therefore we are urgingMinister Deenihan to take further steps to control illegal turf cuttingactivity on the sites that need to be conserved for future generations toenjoy” she added.
Every year IPCCwelcome thousands of visitors to the Bog of Allen Nature Centre in Lullymore,Co. Kildare. People do not realise the enjoyment that visitors get to the Bogof Allen region and the positive financial spinoffs it has for everyone. Theywill stop coming if we do not stand up and protect our natural heritage.