peat war
© BBC Travel
The commercial peat extraction industry has been wound up in Ireland but domestic use divides rural traditionalists and followers of the European Commission's climate change agenda.

In mid-March, the European Commission referred the Irish government to the European Court of Justice ("ECJ") for not complying with the European Union's ("EU") Habitats Directive.

This threatens to reignite the Irish turf war.

For many in rural Ireland, going to the bog is an almost religious ritual of devotion, passed down from generation to generation. Cutting turf or peat in Irish bogs is done out of economic necessity, not as an act of quaint catharsis.

According to the 2022 census, some 68,000 households across Ireland are mostly dependent on turf for home heating. In 2016 it was 79,000 and in 2011 90,000. A decline surely, but a gradual one.

In 2022, the Irish Government banned the sale of turf as part of its climate change agenda but it continued to allow householders to have turbary rights to cut and carry away their own turf from a designed plot of bogland. It also allowed turf cutters to sell their turf to friends and family, but not for commercial use.

In recent weeks, the European Commission decided to refer Ireland to the ECJ for an alleged failure to apply The Habitats Directive to protect sites designated for raised bog and blanket bog habitats from turf cutting.

The Habitats Directive requires EU member states to ensure that their most precious species and habitat types are maintained, or restored, to a favourable conservation status. It is one of two directives that created the Natura 2000 network, the largest coordinated network of protected areas in the world.

On 13 March, the European Commission confirmed that 13 years after it first began engaging with the state on the bogs issue, it has now referred Ireland to the ECJ for its alleged failure to protect sites designated for raised bog and blanket bog habitats from turf cutting.

The commission said bogs in these Special Areas of Conservation ("SACs") continue to be degraded through drainage and turf-cutting activities and insufficient action is being taken to restore the sites.

The Irish Examiner summarised the climate change cult's dubious justification:
  • Bogs are biodiversity hotspots and are categorised as "priority" habitats under the EU's Habitats Directive - a directive that requires member states to protect these sites from harmful activities.
  • They are also vital carbon sinks when healthy.
  • A United Nations ("UN") report has estimated that Ireland's degraded peatlands emit 21.5m tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year.
The European Commission's decision to refer Ireland to the ECJ for not doing enough to protect Ireland's bogs could reignite turf wars.

The so-called "turf wars" was one of the most contentious topics in Irish politics in 2022. In April 2022, the Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications and Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan proposed a ban on the sale of turf. The ban was controversial because turf cutters don't want to lose their way of life and energy independence; and because peat is often the cheapest fuel in rural Ireland for heating homes.

As reported by The Guardian last year, turf cutter Ned Philips said: "I'll not stop cutting turf here no matter what law they pass. It's our tradition. We're doing no harm here." It was his mother's dying wish that he continue a tradition dating back centuries, a wish he intends to honour, even though the family's patch of bog is now part of a conservation area. "I'll fight till my death," he said.

The warning that the EU risks reigniting the turf war by taking Ireland to the ECJ came from Roscommon-Galway Teachta Dála (or Member of Parliament) Michael Fitzmaurice, the Turf Cutters and Contractors Association chairman. He expressed outrage at the move and said it has "obliterated years of progress" made through negotiation and consultation between the National Parks and Wildlife Service and domestic turf cutters and contractors.

"This decision creates the serious risk that we will see a complete breakdown in cooperation between stakeholders domestically, and may very well see a return to tensions on Irish bogs which in recent years had been defused," he said. "The EU has once again shown that it is out of touch with reality and is more interested in using a hammer to crack this nut than diplomacy - which is my book is the mark of a bully."

In a statement, the Department of Housing and Local Government said Ireland stands ready to defend its position in the ECJ and outlined the progress it has made over the last decade, including a complete cessation of turf-cutting on almost 80% of the raised bog SACs since 2011 and a reduction of almost 40% on 2022 turf cutting levels in 2023 on raised bogs.

What the Irish government is failing to do, is to protect Ireland's land, its people and its heritage from unelected bureaucrats dictating rules from afar. Bureaucrats who most likely have never set foot in Ireland - let alone have an understanding of the land and its indigenous population - and are wilfully blind to the economic, social and cultural needs and wishes of the millions of people who make up the unique nation that is called Ireland.

Ireland, as with all nations, has the inalienable right to be sovereign - a free and independent country in which the people exercise total control over their governance. This inalienable right stems from the collective individual inalienable rights each person possesses.

Drawn from the Latin word alius, meaning "other," to call something inalienable means that there is no other; what is inalienable has been established by God and therefore cannot be removed or abolished by any man, woman, government or organisation.

And herein lies the problem. The UN and its collaborators, including the EU, are attempting to hide our inalienable rights from sight so they can replace them with positive law, an example of which is so-called human rights bestowed on us by governments and, increasingly, by supranational organisations.

For example, a British legal scholar Professor Alison Young has claimed: "There are no inalienable rights in the UK in the same way as the US as we have a parliamentary democracy based on parliamentary legislative supremacy. This means that legislation is the highest form of law in the UK."

Prof. Young is part of the establishment that is attempting to gaslight our inalienable rights and the superiority of Natural Law over positive law. She is not the only one who uses legalese to do so.
Note: Natural Law should not be confused with the theory of natural law (natural law theory), a philosophical theory, or the laws of nature, the "principles" which govern the natural phenomena of the world.
As noted by Wikipedia, the UN has been moving away from "juridical sovereignty" theory (which emphasises the importance of other states recognising the rights of a state to exercise their control freely with little interference) towards establishing "empirical sovereignty" theory (focusing on the legitimacy of who is in control of a state and the legitimacy of how they exercise their power) - a very telling switch that demonstrates how the UN views our changeable human rights while disregarding our inalienable rights.

Sources for this article include: Featured image source: BBC Travel