PRESS RELEASE For Immediate Uptake 10th April 2012.
The Irish Peatland Conservation Council are calling on Minister Jimmy Deenihan of the Department 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 shameful disgrace that following on from all the work that has been done to reach an accord to ensure that all turf cutters with a stake in the 53 raised bogs earmarked for conservation have a supply of fuel, that people still feel the need to go out and destroy the natural heritage of Ireland and to celebrate this behaviour using social media sites” says Dr Catherine O’Connell, Chief Executive of the IPCC.
Over the past 12 months much progress has been made by all stakeholders through respresentation on the Peatlands Council, the Peat Forum, the publication of the Quirke Report, the public consultation on the development of a national peatland strategy for Ireland, the free annual delivery of 15 tonnes of turf to each family who have turbary rights in one of the 53 raised bog SACs, relocation to an alternative site from which to cut turf and lastly the provision of financial compensation.
There’s more to the bog than turf and there is a strong lobby of support for the Save the Bogs Campaign which has been running in Ireland for 30 years this year. Bogs provide a wide variety of services to people including a source of water, a natural carbon storing bank, a refuge for endangered plants and animals, a method of controlling flooding and an amenity for people. “Those who continue to destroy our natural heritage and take for granted what has been given for free do not represent the Irish Peatland Conservation Council or its supporters” says Dr Catherine O’Connell, Chief Executive of the IPCC. “Therefore we are urging Minister Deenihan to take further steps to control illegal turf cutting activity on the sites that need to be conserved for future generations to enjoy” she added.
Every year IPCC welcome 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 Bog of Allen region and the positive financial spinoffs it has for everyone. They will stop coming if we do not stand up and protect our natural heritage.