Urgent clarity is being sought from the ESB on the status of soil stability at Derrybrien Bog.

Midlands North MEP, Chris MacManus has met with residents of Derrybrien in Co. Galway who, he said, are impacted by a ban on turf cutting at the site, implemented by the ESB.

“In April of this year, the ESB erected signs at Derrybrien and warned the local turf-cutting contractor that machinery could not be used to harvest turf due to a risk to peat stability at the site,” the MEP said.

He added that this contradicted previous assurances from the ESB, in its windfarm planning application, that the site is safe.

“Since then, a new report from the European Commission has stated that soil stability hasn’t been properly checked since 2005.

“The ESB needs to clarify this matter urgently and I have contacted them in relation to this.”

“There is a clear contradiction in what they are saying regarding peat stability and they can’t have it both ways.”

Derrybrien families possibly affected this winter

The Sinn Féin MEP said the result of this ban is that many local families will be left without fuel for the coming winter.

His party colleague, Louis O’Hara, a Sinn Féin candidate for Galway East in the 2020 General Election, said the ESB is “accountable to nobody”.

“Despite them being a state-owned company, the government has refused to intervene and address this issue.

“Similarly the government has stood by and failed to take action while the daily €15,000 fines from the windfarm add up.”

This, he added was a “disgraceful way” for a state-owned company to act.