October 2011        

Kildare says No to bog evictions


By the end of 2013 the Irish state and the EU will have closed 130 bogs belonging to working people, a very angry meeting in Co. Kildare was told.
     Kildare Turf Cutters’ Association held a packed public meeting, with standing room only, in Newbridge Golf Club on Thursday 15 September. Luke “Ming” Flanagan TD, who is PRO for the Turf Cutters’ and Contractors’ Association, said the association had embarked on a tour of the fifty-five designated bogs, and so far groups have been set up in Cos. Laois, Sligo, Kerry, Galway, Roscommon, and Mayo. He envisaged that there would be more than twenty groups in existence by the end of the tour. They would then formulate a plan of action, which they would put to the EU commissioner.
     The EU Habitats Directive was introduced fourteen years ago; yet the Irish Government’s inaction has been palpable. €500 million was given to this country to put the birds and habitat directive into effect. Ming asked, Where did that money go? They spent it on their fancy jeeps and expenses, but voluntary groups of people, like this one, have to fight for a couple of shillings.
     He told the crowd they were reasonable people with reasonable demands and would fight if they have to for these demands.
     The PRO of Kildare Turf-Cutters’ Association, John Dore, spoke about the importance of the bog to Co. Kildare. He questioned what the plans for these bogs were. If turf-cutting was stopped, would they become floodplain? And what of the three hundred houses that are in the footprint of the bogs?
     He stressed that they have to be prepared for the worst and have to be in a strong position for the beginning of next season’s turf-cutting. They will aim to raise public awareness on the issue.
     The KTCA, in conjunction with the TCCA, has produced an information leaflet titled “Say No to bog evictions.” The KTCA is also organising a race night and rally at Newbridge Greyhound Stadium on 15 October.
[BH]

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