Turf can be cut
There is relief in households in many parts of Ireland that the turf cutting season can get underway during the Covid-19 lockdown.
The Department of Heritage and the Gaeltacht is now giving a special exemption from the emergency Covid-19 regulations to allow turf cutting for domestic use to proceed this season.
Turf cutting was not included in the initial exemptions to the emergency controls announced by the Government and which are now in law.
Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley and Spokesperson on Rural Development welcomed news.
"For both contractors and householders, it is important that cutting proceeds so that the benefits of the dry weather can be taken advantage of.
"I have been making the case for this to the Minister and senior officials that this needed to happen, otherwise it would put a serious question mark over a large part of this year’s fuel harvest. The facts are that turf cutting only involves two or three people operating separate machines on open bog, means that there is no health risk.
"Of course the health guidelines and regulations need to be implemented fully by anyone involved, so as not to run the risk of spreading the Covid 19 virus.
"I am again urging everyone to strictly observe the health regulations and the advice been given by the National Emergency Health Team along with the Chief Medical Officer. If we all play our part, it will shorten the length of time that this current emergency lasts and crucially fewer lives will be lost,” he said.