Roseberry turf cutters turn out to reclaim heritage

Oliver Murphy and Conor Wynne turf cutting with Pat Burke.  Photo. Jimmy Fullam.
Over 200 Turf cutters gathered at Roseberry bog on Saturday for a tradtional demonstration on hand cutting techniques, in a bid to reclaim their heritage against a cutting barring order from the government.

Over 200 Turf cutters gathered at Roseberry bog on Saturday for a tradtional demonstration on hand cutting techniques, in a bid to reclaim their heritage against a cutting barring order from the government.

“It is our heritage and we don’t want anybody else to define our heritage,” said turf cutter Máirtín Lane from Roseberry.

“In a funny way they [Government] are bringing the community closer together. We had a meeting recently and people are willing to go to jail for their cutting rights - there are people who are now retired and have nothing left to lose and want to prove a point. I have been cutting and bringing home turf all my life.”

According to EU legislation Roseberry bog, in Mouds bog, is deemed an SAC -Special Area of Conservation - and turf cutters, as a result, have been ordered to cease cutting and hand over their long standing cutters rights, for monetary compensation.

“The local turfcutters are local experts and they should be trusted to manage their own property.

“What is really sickening is that the people in Europe seem to be influenced by a small pressure group. The Department officials do not want to know.”

Meanwhile the highlight of event, which was held as part of Heritage week, was the opening speech by 93 year old Annie Burke from Roseberry, who worked the bog all her life and spoke about the importance of the bog in the local community.

Kildare Turf Cutters PRO John Dore then outlined to those in attendance what he described as ‘the miniscule extent of domestic turf cutting in relation to the extremity of the bog’.

He also raised the alert on the risk of fire and rubbish dumping if the custodial vigilance of the domestic turf cutters was lost to the bog.