In this article, Gerry Loftus, RIO leader, gives a “cautious” welcome to new rules on turf cutting.
The position that RIO has adopted from the outset was that legally held Turbary Rights had to be protected and people holding Turbary had to be allowed to cut turf.
Thankfully, pressure from grassroots campaign groups like RIO has paid off. This demand has been achieved, but this is far from over.
Thank you to RIO partners in the Climate Justice and Cost of Living Coalitions and the thousands of people that came out to support the recent protest march in Dublin.
People holding Turbary Rights can cut and sell turf as normal to family and neighbours.
However, many people do not have Turbary Rights and will be adversely impacted by the new rules.
I am concerned as to how this will be policed. It is quite possible people wanting to cut turf may be asked to produce the folio number identifying ownership of the plot of bog, but how this will play out is unclear at this time.
Looking at the bigger picture going forward, the people of Ireland are being kept in the dark on the future of Ireland’s peatlands.
A new EU regulation regarding the protection of Ireland bogs will possibly be introduced in 2024/2025. This is the next big battle.
We must include in the wording recognition of Turbary Rights and our Farming Activity.
The challenge here is, how do we farm these peatlands, exercise our right to cut turf, while at the same time protecting peat soils in a way accepted by the EU.
Ireland has agreed to the protection of our peat soils in the peatland strategy, in the Climate Plan for the country.
Ireland has also agreed that as a condition of payment in the up-and-coming CAP, peatlands must be appropriately protected.
This will demand huge changes in how we farm our hills and all peat soils.
There is much more to this issue than air pollution. Establishment politicians are playing politics and not coming clean with the general public.
The majority of peat soil in Ireland lies along the western seaboard. The politicians will continue to hide the correct information from the people that elected them. However, we in, the Rural Ireland Organisation, will continue the fight.
The next protest to protect our Turbary Rights. A demand for equality and fairness for small and medium-sized farmers will take place in Dublin on September 28th, 2022.
We urge all farmers and workers to support this protest. We cannot allow the west of Ireland to become a carbon store for big agricultural polluters.
Other news articles on That’s Farming: