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Laois turf cutters ‘can’t be left in the cold’ says Sinn Fein TD

Laois turf cutters cannot ‘be left in the cold’ this year – Sinn Fein TD Brian Stanley says.

The Laois TD says that they are facing into another turf cutting season where their ability to cut turf is uncertain.

That is because of a 2019 High Court ruling that forced Bord na Mona to cease commercial peat harvesting.

Domestic turf cutters who own their turf banks or who have turbary rights are unaffected.

However, hundreds of turf cutters, some of whom are former Bord na Mona workers are now being told they can’t cut as their banks are owned by Bord na Mona and therefore come under court ruling.

Mr Stanley met with Bord na Mona management recently where he outlined how these people’s homes cannot be retrofitted as they either can’t afford it or they are not suitable.

He said: “At the meeting with Bord na Mona management, which included CEO Tom Donnellan, I made the case that solutions must to be found to resolve this issue as most of the households affected cannot afford the €40 – €60K to retrofit their homes.

“A lot of their homes are not suitable for retrofitting.’’

“I also put it to Tom Donnellan that Bord na Mona where possible should try and relocate cutters to suitable turf banks as some of these moved off other turf banks in the past, which they had rights to, to facilitate Bord na Mona harvesting.

“I also requested that the companies legal advisors would re-examine the outcome of the 2019 ruling to ascertain if domestic turf cutting can continue under licence or some other means on their bogs.

“The CEO committed to revisit this, and also the suggestion that the small scale turf cutters could be facilitated by way of being formed into local groups or associations.

“The management team are to examine all these options and to engage in a process with turf cutters and representatives to find solutions on each of the relevant to local bogs.”

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