The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Mr Jimmy Deenihan, T.D. and the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Mr Phil Hogan, T.D., have announced that they have obtained the support of the European Commission for the Government's intention to prepare a national plan for Ireland's Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) raised bogs.
The drafting of a national plan is intended to allow solutions for turf-cutters within each of the 53 raised bog sites to be explored in detail. In addition, where alternative solutions can be shown not to exist, the process may allow for consideration of eventually allowing limited turf cutting within a small number of the 53 raised bog SACs in Ireland.
The Ministers have asked all interest groups to join with the Government and the Peatlands Council in drawing up the national plan.
This announcement follows on from the submission by Mr Justice Quirke to the Government of his report on the Peatlands Forum, which was in session from 28 February – 2 March, 2012. Its primary objective was to address the concerns of communities, associations, organisations, State Bodies and individuals who have been or will be affected by the restrictions on turf cutting imposed by the Habitats Directive on Ireland's 53 raised bog SACs. Mr Justice Quirke made 10...