Connaughton welcomes deal on NHA bog designations

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A newly announced deal which will see the country’s 28 NHA designated bogs stay open for a further three years has been welcomed this week by East Galway T.D. Paul Connaughton.

‘Under the existing plan for NHA bogs in Ireland and in particular in County Galway, 28 bogs were due to close this year. Of those 28, all will remain open for the next three years so people will be able to cut turf on their NHA bogs.

‘After three years, eighteen of these bogs will be fully de-designated, the designation will be lifted and people will be able to continue to cut turf.  Unfortunately, seven will have to close. Over the next three years the Department will work with turf cutters affected by this on compensation or relocation payments. Hopefully, over the three years, it will be possible to facilitate everybody in whatever they decide to do. The remaining three bogs will be partially de-designated. Sections will be designated and people will be allowed to cut turf on the remainder.

‘It is my belief that if that sort of logic was used in relation to the SAC bogs, turf cutters may not have experienced the difficulty encountered in recent years. This is a very welcome step forward and perhaps does not go as far as I would like, but it does give peace of mind to all the people whose bogs are designated as NHA bogs.

‘It is now important that the Minister and the Department officials work immediately with affected people on the seven bogs that will have to close after three years to find solutions for each turf cutter.

‘I very much welcome the fact that 18 bogs will have their designation removed completely to allow these people to continue doing something they have been doing for many, many years and I will continue to work on this issue to keep highlighting the concerns of turf cutters.

‘I have been working on this issue since being elected because I am well aware of the very real concerns that families and householders had in relation to NHA designation,’ concluded Deputy Connaughton.

A list of the 28 NHA bogs and whether they are to remain open, be re-designated or close, will be available on the website of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht at www.ahg.gov.ie.