Illegal turf-cutting has taken place on numerous bogs in Co. Roscommon in recent weeks, it has emerged.
There is a EU ban against turf-cutting on certain bogs, but members of the Turf-cutters’ and Contractors’ Association (TCCA) flout the law.
Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice, the chairman, said: “A lot of bogs in Roscommon have been cut over the last couple of weeks: Kilteevan has been cut; Corbo has been cut.”
Up to 100 people gathered at Monivea Bog, near Athenry, last Saturday, to cut on a plot designated as a Special Area of Conservation.
Cutting took place from 4.40 am until 9.30 pm, with various turf-cutting machines being used throughout the day.
“They gardaí came twice, but no arrests were made,” said Deputy Fitzmaurice. “Everything was done in peaceful, dignified way.”
MEP Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan was also among those present.
Asked why the group continue to defy the ban, Deputy Fitzmaurice said: “We are challenging an unjust law. We are protecting people’s property.”
He said that the TCCA were willing to engage with the Government to resolve the problem, but added: “We won’t be run off our land. We will continue to get justice.”