By the Irish Wildlife Trust:
Many people in Ireland have been duped into thinking that the ban on turf cutting is an all out countrywide ban. This is not the case. Turf cutting is only banned on SACs (Special Areas of Conservation) due to their national and european ecological importance; these bogs are the last remaining semi intact examples of their kind and are in the process of being lost forever. Turf cutting is only banned on 2% of the harvestable bogs in Ireland and people affected by the ban are offered handsome alternatives.
The options include turf from non contentious bogs delivered to their door or a financial settlement or an alternative non SAC bog to cut on. Another bit of clever propaganda has been to trick the Irish people into thinking that a small number of individuals are being oppressed by faceless Eurocrats. The reality is that organised groups are going in with big machinery to get what they can while they can. In doing so they are selfishly robbing the Irish people of their heritage by destroying the last remnants of these amazing habitats.
The latest strategy in place is designed to propound the myth that this is a traditional family activity carried out with hand tools. The illegal turf cutters are now staging family days cutting turf on these bogs in order to keep up their momentum and push the perception of the traditional approach to turf cutting.
See this videoclip of big machinery in action, and these aerial images of Clonmoylan bog SAC (photos taken during Friends of the Irish Environment’s aerial survey in May 2012).
The information here was taken from this Irish Wildlife Trust Facebook post on 7 August 2013.