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Irish Wildlife Trust criticises inaction on illegal cutting in conservation areas

Mar 7, 2023 17:00 By Shannonside News
Irish Wildlife Trust criticises inaction on illegal cutting in conservation areas
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Peat cutting in Special Conservation Areas was made illegal in 2011.

The Irish Wildlife Trust is criticising the government's inaction on the illegal cutting of turf on Special Areas of conservation over the last 12 years.

Figures released to the Trust under the Freedom of Information Act showed many instance of turf cutting on over 330 different sites across the country last year, and even up significantly on the 2021 figures.

The figures showed 31 plots were cut in SAC's across Roscommon last year, an increase of 9 on 2021.

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The areas involved are monitored regularly by the National Parks and Wildlife Service for activity.

Padraic Fogarty says it's well known that the law has been ignored since the beginning of the ban, but the government is too afraid to handle the whole controversy around turf cutting and burning.

"What has happened is, because turf  has become a political lightning rod, that has everything to do with our climate and biodiversity crisis, the politicians just don't want to go there. I think this is tragic because, at the end of the day, this is criminality. This is breaking the law and it's not a victimless crime. We're all losing out on the destruction of this precious heritage. It's not different than someone walking into the National Museum and walking out with exhibits under their arm". 

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