Irish turf cutters feel slice of betrayal
Turf cutters in the Republic of Ireland were warned they faced legal action if they cut turf on protected bogs over the Easter weekend following the protection of 53 turf bogs under the EU Habitats Directive.
The Irish Government faces fines of €25,000 (£20,624) a day if turf cutting takes place in protected areas, with the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan, warning that anyone found breaking the law would face the consequences.
The minister was responding to a recent call to members to commence cutting again by the Turf Cutters and Contractors Association, which wants the closure of the protected sites to be phased over three years to allow members time to find alternatives.
The proposal was rejected by the Government and the European Commission and the TCCA regard the government's stance on a centuries' old tradition as "an act of betrayal".