Divide and Conquer

(Image source: wikimedia)

(Image source: wikimedia)

I am a big believer in leaving this planet in the best possible shape for future generations to come. However, when conservation and environmental awareness is being coerced down your gullet by the worst offenders of environmental protection you can’t help but wonder if there is an ulterior motive.

If the Irish government is telling the owners of 53 SAC raised bogs in Ireland to cease all turf cutting, then why didn’t they stop cutting raised bogs in their possession also?

Bord na Mona, a government owned turf cutting company, not only cuts turf to sell in Ireland as peat briquettes, and peat particles as fertilizer, they also ship to the USA and UK. Ireland Earth ships briquettes to the USA and Puraflo Filtration systems are made from peat particles from Irish bogs, owned by Bord na Mona.

My most commented on blog post was Rights of Ownership and Irish Turf Wars, and I learned a lot from the comments made. Comments came from turf cutters and environmentalists. It is important to listen and digest what each side has to say. And, incredible as it may seem, both sides appreciate the bogs that are under dispute, but for slightly different reasons.

The bog owners appreciate the natural and historical way of life that cutting turf provides, the conservationists appreciate the bogs for their beauty and rare foliage and fauna.

A sleán (Image source Flickr.com)

A sleán (Image source Flickr.com)

The turf cutters and bog owners are staging photo-ops for the media with sleán Sunday on August 14th and other such fetes around Ireland during the month of August. A sleán is an old tool used to cut turf.

The conservationists claim that commercial turf cutting is destroying the few remaining raised bogs left in Ireland and now deemed Special Areas of Conservation and that the bog owners and turf cutters are playing on people’s emotions by calling the EU the new absentee land lords.

From my point of view, the Irish government has learned to divide and conquer its own people; it pits conservationists against private bog owners whilst the government owned Bord na Mona continues to commit the sins it forbids the bog owners to do and gives permission to conservationists to do battle with the bog owners for doing: cutting turf on SACs.

There’s no money to be made in someone cutting their own turf, but there’s lots of money to be made in cutting turf and shipping it abroad. As IrelandEarth.com, a USA division of Bord na Mona, says,

“IRELAND EARTH is all about connecting and involving everyone to all things Irish, whether you’re one of the 38 million Americans of Irish Descent or wanting to be part of some great Irish culture.  Below is a list by State of some of the major Irish Cultural Centers, Societies, Organizations and Irish Festivals and Fairs. If you’d like your organization or festival represented below, please contact us and we’d love to help. We’ll keep you up to date and connected with these groups’ upcoming events. So join us to be part of the craic.”

spot the differenceHere’s the “craic” though, while Ireland Earth is connecting with the 38 million Irish Americans, and selling peat briquettes through Amazon.com, the private bog owners and conservationists in Ireland are going at it LOGGERHEADS!

So maybe one of your ancestors in Ireland is protesting his/her right to cut turf, or maybe your Irish ancestor is a conservationist who is trying to preserve Irish bogs for future generations, who knows?

Just keep in mind the fact that Bord na Mona, who owns Ireland Earth, is the biggest culprit for desecrating Irish bogs, and is government owned, and the government of Ireland is telling private bog owners and turbary rights bog owners that they must cease cutting turf on their SAC bogs.

This is a big deal, police are stationed at these bogs daily, the EU fines the Irish government 25 thousand Euro daily for each SAC bog that is cut.

Keep in mind that Bord na Mona, a government owned company, is implementing a divide and conquer campaign among the people of Ireland, whilst it persists in its own destruction of Irish bogs. According to one commentator Bord na Mona bogs are now beyond saving.

I can see both sides of the story here, the bog owner’s side and the conservationist’s side, but I fail to see how the government of Ireland can dictate a rule that it persists in breaking.

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