Leyden defends turf-cutters

Senator Terry Leyden last week defended the rights of rural dwellers to cut and use turbary, or turf available for harvesting in common areas. Speaking in Seanad Éireann the Senator referred in particular to the EU directive on turbary rights, which emerged as an issue during the Lisbon referendum campaign.   ‘This was introduced ten years ago and a derogation was put in place, but circumstances have changed. Oil prices continue to increase but there is no suggestion that the Arabs should be told to cease extracting oil from their oil fields. Turf can be extracted economically. People are upset that their rights to extract turf, which go back for centuries, cannot be utilised because of the EU. Nothing is set in stone and all policies can be reviewed.’