Bord na Móna is betraying ordinary people who have loyally taken plots of turf on their bogs down through the years with its latest move to prevent the practice this year, according to independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice.
Ahead of a reported announcement and public notices in regional publications this week, the representative for the Roscommon-Galway constituency noted that BNM is being “totally disingenuous”.
“I am led to believe that they are leading with the statistic that seven out of ten people won’t be affected, as a result of having turbary rights. But the reality of the situation is that has nothing got to do with it.
“If you look at the bogs affected, up to 4,000 households in the midlands will be left high and dry by Bord na Móna’s decision. These are loyal, ordinary people who take a plot of turf in order to heat their homes in the winter.
“That is being ripped from their grasp. The timing of this looming announcement is yet another indicator of BNM’s disdain for these ordinary people – many of whom are elderly – with the turf cutting season set to start in the next two weeks.
“BNM’s spin doctors are trying to make light of the number of people who will be impacted by this move”.
Deputy Fitzmaurice said that those who take plots of turf depend on it as their only source of fuel.
“Everyone is talking about a just transition, since BNM started pushing their ‘Brown to Green’ agenda. But since they were handed over €100 million, it is clear that all BNM and Tom Donnellan are interested in is turning their backs on the cultures and traditions from which the company originally grew.
“Are the deputies from Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael going to allow their parties stand idly by while BNM treats their constituents like this?
“People across parts of Roscommon, Longford, Westmeath, Offaly, Tipperary, Laois, Kildare and Meath will feel the brunt of this decision,” he said.
“I am calling for BNM officials to have a conversation with me publicly over the systems they have run in recent years, even though the same case law was in place then as now.
“But people need to be prepared to stand up for their rights to cut turf to burn in their own fire in their own home. These people do not need to look deep into the past either for inspiration. People were prepared to stand up for their rights then, and now should be no different
“This Government must be willing to intervene and stand alongside these people, otherwise they will be abandoning them yet again,” Deputy Fitzmuarice concluded.