Bord na Móna has been accused of “betraying ordinary people” with an apparent decision to prevent some people taking plots of turf on its bogs this year.
Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice, who said that the Bord na Móna decision would be announced this week, accused the body of being “totally disingenuous”.
“I am led to believe that they are leading with the statistic that seven out of 10 people won’t be affected, as a result of having turbary rights. But the reality of the situation is that this has nothing got to do with it,” Fitzmaurice claimed.
If you look at the bogs affected, up to 4,000 households in the midlands will be left high and dry by Bord na Móna’s decision. These are loyal, ordinary people who take a plot of turf in order to heat their homes in the winter.
“That is being ripped from their grasp,” he added.
The Roscommon-Galway TD went on to say: “Many of these people who take plots of turf depend on it as their only source of fuel to heat their homes. They cannot be left to hang out to dry, just because they don’t have a turbary right.”
He accused the company of “turning their backs on the cultures and traditions from which the company originally grew”.
Are the deputies from Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael – representing constituencies such as Longford-Westmeath, Laois-Offaly, Tipperary, Meath West, Kildare North and Kildare South – going to allow their parties stand idly by?
“People across parts of Roscommon, Longford, Westmeath, Offaly, Tipperary, Laois, Kildare and Meath will feel the brunt of this decision. The government must be willing to step in and prevent ordinary people from being left without fuel for their fire,” Fitzmaurice remarked.
He said he spoke with Bord na Móna this week and “challenged it to provide the legal reasoning” for the move.
“People need to be prepared to stand up for their rights to cut turf to burn in their own fire in their own home. These people do not need to look deep into the past for inspiration. People were prepared to stand up for their rights then, and now should be no different,” he added.