Ireland has been referred to the European Court of Justice over what the European Commission said is its failure to protect bogs from turf cutting.

The Commission announced its decision to refer Ireland to the court this Tuesday.

It said Ireland failed to apply the habitat directive to protect sites designated for raised bog and blanket bog habitats from turf cutting.

In a statement announcing the decision, the Commission said Ireland continues to “degrade” these sites.

“The habitats directive requires member states to designate their most precious natural habitats and to protect them from harmful activities.

“These sites in Ireland continue to be degraded through drainage and turf cutting activities and insufficient action is being taken to restore the sites,” the statement said.

Currently in Ireland, it is illegal to cut turf except for personal, domestic use.


The Commission said it sent a formal notice and a reasoned opinion to Ireland on two occasions in 2011 on the matter, followed by further communication in 2022.

“Despite some progress, the Irish authorities have not fully addressed the shortcomings.

“For instance, whilst some restoration work has been undertaken on raised bog sites, no action has been taken regarding blanket bog sites where Ireland has failed to put in place an effective regulatory regime to protect these unique bog sites.

“The Commission considers that efforts by the Irish authorities have, to date, been insufficient and is therefore referring Ireland to the Court of Justice of the EU,” it said.