Two men charged with unauthorised turf cutting on designated areas of conservation have begun High Court actions aimed at halting their trial.

John O'Connor and Christopher McCarthy are due to be tried before Kerry Circuit Court after they allegedly extracted turf from Moanveanlagh Bog in Co Kerry, which has been designated as a Special Area of Conservation.

Both men, with addresses at Kilbaha, Moyvane, Co Kerry, have asked the High Court for orders preventing their prosecution.

Lawyers for Mr O'Connor, and Mr McCarthy, claimed before the High Court that the prosecution should be halted on grounds including that the charges against them are unconstitutional and lack proportionality.

Their proceedings are against the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Circuit Court Judge to be assigned to hear the case, the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan, Ireland and the Attorney General.

No date has been fixed for their trial.