The stand-off between up to 200 turf cutters, gardaí and officials of the National Parks and Wildlife Services near Woodford in Co Galway has ended.

The turf cutters staged an overnight protest on the bog.

Representatives of the Turf Cutting Contractors' Association, whose machine was seized by the NPWS yesterday, were allowed by gardaí to remove the vehicle from the bog.

Afterwards, Association chairman Michael Fitzmaurice said the local turf cutters had won the battle and would continue to cut turf on their own bog.

Mr Fitzmaurice praised gardaí for allowing the removal of the machinery.

Over 200 turf cutters from all over the country had gathered at the bog which is located at Looscaun and there were loud cheers as the machinery was taken away by the contractors' representatives.

They mounted the action at Clonmoylan Bog yesterday in an attempt to stop the removal of turf-cutting equipment by gardaí.

Ireland is required to protect and conserve important peat land habitats on raised bogs under the EU Habitat's Directive.

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan had appealed to turf cutters to obey the law, cooperate with gardaí and work with the national plan.

Speaking on Today with Pat Kenny, the Minister said under the plan the European Commission has agreed that all bogs will be surveyed again, but only if no turf cutting takes place on protected areas.

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has said that the law will be applied in the dispute.

Mr Shatter said Ireland risked a €25,000 fine by the European Commission every day if turf cutting did not cease on the bogs.

He said gardaí were providing assistance to the National Parks and Wildlife Service last night and would continue to do so.