640,000 Compensation Paid To Date To Turfcutters
|Fine Gael TD for Roscommon, Frank Feighan, has said that the 640,000 in Government compensation paid to date to Roscommon Turfcutters is testament to the clear co-operation and goodwill on all sides in efforts to adequately recompense those affected by the EU Habitats Directive.
"This 640,000 represents the first tranche of annual index-linked payments of 1,500 paid to qualifying turfcutters in Roscommon over the next 15 years. Minister for the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan has also informed me that another 45% of Roscommon applicants are currently having their cases processed and, while the formal deadline has passed, the Department is still accepting applications to the scheme.
"In addition to the annual 1,500 payment, all applicants will receive an additional once-off bonus payment of 500 when legal agreements have been signed with the Minister.
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"I have consistently said that we must protect those affected by the turfcutting ban, contrary to the claims of some detractors and despite some of the misinformation circulated about my work on this issue. Its very clear from these payment figures that substantial progress is being made which I and many others have worked towards for some time.
"That has included my work in securing an enhanced compensation for qualifying turf-cutters where my discussions with Minister Deenihan, along with Department and Brussels officials, ensured the compensation was increased from 1,000 to 1,500 yearly. I was also involved in the negotiations in securing the once-off payment of 500 for turfcutters, who will now receive a total payment of 23,000 over 15 years.
"I want to clearly acknowledge again that this has been a difficult issue for ordinary turf-cutters on the ground. They have been sorely affected by a legacy issue left by the last Government where continued non-compliance under the EU Habitats Directive will mean fines running into tens of millions of euro for this country."
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