Contractor Fined €1,000 For Harvesting Turf In Protected Bog On Tipperary Border.

Machined Turf Cutting

A case before Nenagh District Court, Co Tipperary on February 9th 2023 last, heard that turf was being extracted from a Natural Heritage Area containing a raised bog, without ministerial consent, contrary to Section 19 of the Wildlife Amendment Act 2000. The bog, situated at Monaincha & Ballaghmore, 6 km east of Roscrea, North Tipperary, spans the border of counties Tipperary and Laois.

The site is regarded as being of considerable conservation significance, and a rare habitat within the European Union. Same sites are becoming increasingly scarce and under threat here in Ireland.

The accused, named as Mr Pat McEvoy, aged 51, with an address at Blackbull, Birr, Co Offaly, had pleaded guilty to the offence and Judge Elizabeth McGrath imposed a fine of €1,000.

Evidence was provided before to the court by a National Parks and Wildlife Service Divisional Manager, latter who confirmed that the site had been designated as a Natural Heritage Area back in 2005, due to its unique raised bog microhabitat and large soak system.

He further confirmed that turf could only be harvested in the Natural Heritage Area with Ministerial consent and no such consent had been issued or requested.

On May 11th, 2020, as part of a surveillance operation in the afore mentioned area; together with a Wildlife Service colleague, the Divisional Manager had entered the bog at 7:30am and witnessed the extraction and spreading of peat on the protected site. When the machines began to leave the site, the accused involved, was approached. Mr McEvoy refused initially to identify himself, but subsequently did so, to a member of An Garda Síochána, who arrived shortly afterwards

Ignorantia juris non excusat. – Ignorance of the law is no excuse.

Judge Elizabeth McGrath, imposing a €1,000 fine, stated that she did not accept the defence that Mr McEvoy was unaware that the site was protected, adding that as a turf contractor involved in the turf trade for some years, it was his business to know the whereabouts of legally protected raised bog sites.


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