December 2011        

Kildare turf-cutters’ rally

Kildare Turf Cutters’ Association held a successful race night and rally last month in Newbridge Greyhound Stadium, Droichead Nua, Co. Kildare. More than 1,200 people turned up, some travelling from as far away as Galway and Roscommon, to join with Kildare supporters for a great night of dog racing and protest.
     Addressing the large crowd, the PRO of Kildare Turf Cutters’ Association, John Dore, said they were overwhelmed by the turn-out, which showed there is strong support for the turf-cutters’ fight to protect a traditional way of life.
     Next to speak was Luke Ming Flanagan TD, PRO of the Turf Cutters’ and Contractors’ Association, who thanked the ordinary people for coming out in such large numbers and showing their support. He stated that the minister for arts, heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan, had signed the EU Birds and Natural Habitats Directive, which banned turf-cutting, while they were still negotiating with the Peatlands Council. This had occurred despite a compromise proposed by the Turf Cutters’ and Contractors’ Association, whereby up to 80 per cent of fifty-three bogs in special areas of conservation would not be cut.
     The Turfcutters will seek a meeting with the EU commissioner for the environment, Janez Potočnik.
     The Government banned turf-cutting on thirty-two active raised bogs and intends to ban a further twenty-four by the end of this year. A further seventy-five bogs in national heritage areas will be banned by 2014.

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