Tipperary North Fine Gael TD has welcomed the publication by Government of a long term vision for the protection of Ireland’s unique bog habitats.
Deputy Coonan said the strategy sets out for the first time a cross Government approach to managing peatlands.
“The plan firstly outlines a strategic approach regarding the long-term vision for bogs, secondly provides for the future restoration and management of 53 raised bogs in Special Areas of Conservation and thirdly sets out a significant reconfiguration of the National Heritage Areas raised bog network,” said Deputy Coonan.
“I particularly welcome the decision by my colleague Heritage Minister Jimmy Deenihan to de-designate in full four of the nine Tipperary NHA bogs including Killeen, Lorrha and Nore Valley Bogs and partially de-designate River Little Brosna Callows to allow turf cutting to continue into the future.
“I have been in regular contact with Minister Jimmy Deenihan seeking a resolution for many Tipperary turfcutters who were concerned regarding the long-term vision for their bogs.
Deputy Coonan said: “I am particularly pleased Derrymore Bog in Roscrea is included. This bodes well for the many Roscrea people who use it as a necessary fuel source as well as a therapeutic outlet.
“Any turfcutter required to cease turf-cutting on an NHA will be offered compensatory measures similar to those available to turf-cutters from raised bog SACs. Compensation will be made available immediately to active turf-cutters on these site.
“Minister Deenihan published three documents including a draft National Peatlands Strategy, a draft National Raised Bog Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) Management Plan, and a Review of Raised Bog Natural Heritage Areas (NHAs). These documents recognise the important tradition of turf cutting,” said Deputy Coonan.