Wednesday, 25 October 2000
Dáil Eireann Debate
273. Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage Gaeltacht and the Islands if there will be compensation paid to people who are no longer able to cut turf for individual use from their bog, due to SAC/NHA designation. [23523/00]
Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands (Miss de Valera): I understand the site the Deputy refers to is incorporated in the Mweelrea-Sheffrey-Erriff special area of conservation and that it is also in a proposed natural heritage area.
I refer the Deputy to the scheme that I introduced last year in relation to cessation of turf cutting arrangements for turf cutters in raised bog and blanket bog SACs. Under that scheme com pensation payment, or in the case of some raised bogs, a swop site, or in certain circumstances, continued cutting for a limited period of time can be arranged through Dúchas, the heritage service of my Department.
At present, there is no prohibition on persons cutting turf for individual use in NHAs and the issue of compensation does not therefore arise. However, it is anticipated that a scheme will be put in place when these sites are afforded statutory protection under impending legislation, viz. the Wildlife (Amendment) Bill which has recently completed Committee Stage in the Dáil.
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