€20m paid out to turf-cutters – Feighan

Senator Frank Feighan has been informed by the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional and Rural Affairs, Heather Humphreys, that almost €20 million in compensation has been paid to date to turf-cutters affected by the EU Habitats Directive.

  “To date, a total of €19,881,602.35 has been paid out under the Turf-cutting Compensation Scheme with approximately half of that amount paid in Roscommon and Galway to those affected by the turf-cutting ban.

  “Speaking in the Seanad yesterday (Wednesday), I said one of my primary objectives throughout this whole process was to make sure that those affected would be financially recompensed and thankfully that is happening in all areas affected by the Directive.

  “In my own region, I have fought for and helped deliver compensation to more than a 1,000 turf cutting families. That equates to €23,000 tax-free to each turf-cutter over a 15 year period. Certainly, no-one has ever denied that the turf-cutting ban has been a very difficult one for all concerned. However, I believe the setting up of the Peatlands Council and the Peatlands Forum paved the way for this compensation scheme.

  “I would like to again pay tribute to all stakeholders, particularly the turf-cutting community, which understood that the last Government was forced to deal with a very difficult legacy issue.”