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Almost €3.5m paid out for turf cutting compensation since 2011

Figures released to TheJournal.ie show that a total of 2,117 payments and 191 turf deliveries have been made to applicants.

Image: Julien Behal/PA Archive

A COST OF almost €3.5 million was incurred by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht since 2011 for compensation to turf cutters.

Figures released to TheJournal.ie by the department show that 2,590 applications have been received under the Cessation of Turf Cutting Compensation scheme.

A package of compensation for turf cutters affected by the designations of certain raised bogs, protected under the Habitats Directive, was put in place by the government to deal with those who could no longer legally cut turf.

The package provides for a number of options including a payment of €1,500 each for 15 years along with a sign up payment of €500, bringing the total to €23,000, indexed and tax-free.

The provision of a relocation bog for cutting is also an option in the compensation package and turf cutters can avail of the financial compensation or the delivery of turf while awaiting relocation.

The data from the department show that a total of 2,117 payments and 191 turf deliveries have been made to applicants. A cost of €51,000 was incurred in 2011 and in 2012 there was a significant increase with a cost of €3,376,567.63, bringing the total to almost €3.5 million.

These new figures indicate a surge of applications in the latter half of 2012 as the department said in August that just over 1,000 applications for compensation had been processed and that the scheme had paid out more than €1.5 million to turf cutters.

There are 53 raised bogs in Ireland which have been nominated as Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) which make up about 2 per cent of peatlands where turf extraction is feasible.

Related: Deenihan welcomes over 1,000 turf cutters’ compensation applications>

More: Turf cutters claim victory as minister says they must “work within the law”>

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