TABLE OF CONTENTS
Ireland has failed, generally and structurally, to apply EU law in respect of peat extraction, with significant biodiversity and climate change impacts. In addition to these impacts, Ireland’s behaviour represents a direct, persistent challenge to the rule of law in the EU.
To date, no effective action has been taken, either at the EU or national levels, to protect Ireland’s peatlands, notwithstanding legal proceedings brought by the European Commission and adverse judgments of the ECJ more than 10 years ago.
Traditional hand cutting of peat has largely been replaced by large-scale mechanised peat extraction. This is taking place throughout the raised bogs of the Irish midlands to service a national and international horticultural, energy (peat-fired power stations) and sorbent (to absorb industrial spills) market that includes England, Holland, Mozambique, and South Africa. In tandem with this activity, smaller-scale peat extraction (mechanised and hand-cut) is taking place throughout Ireland to service ‘domestic use’ (burning of peat as domestic fuel). These activities continue - unassessed - to this day, both within and outside Natura 2000 sites in Ireland, in breach of EU law.