The case against two men for cutting turf on protected bogs on the Galway/Roscommon border nine years ago has been thrown out at Galway Circuit Criminal Court.

The court heard that the State wished to enter a nolle prosequi in the case against Patrick Lavin of Frenchpark, Co Roscommon, and Thomas Ward of Gort an tSléibhe, Claregalway.

Counsel for the DPP Conal McCarthy told the court that the State would not be putting forward any witnesses.

Both men pleaded not guilty in 2015 to cutting turf on Ballymoe Bog on the Galway/Roscommon border in June 2013.

Chairperson of the Turf Cutters and Contractors Association and Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice has welcomed the decision by the State to drop proceedings.

But, he said, it was not about winners or losers and going forward it was important to build on the constructive engagement between turf cutters and National Parks and Wildlife Service over the past five years.

"There's been a lot of progress and the end game is that we work together. That's the most important part of resolving the issues. Today isn't about winners or losers. These are ordinary people seeking to defend their piece of bog and turf cutting rights. And in fairness to the people right around this country over the last five years and in fairness to the National Parks, they have engaged constructively with us and that will continue.

"And I think Europe should look at the amount of engagement and the progress that has been made in resolving these issues. Europe should take note when you're working together. Be they commissioners or bureaucrats, they shouldn't keep sending sending 'opinion letters' back to the Irish State and instead focus on how much progress has been made in resolving issues. Otherwise they undo a lot of good work."

Mr Fitzmaurice added: "Anyone familiar with the ongoing turf cutter scenario will know that we started off with some 53 bogs of Special Area Conservation. There's now 14 protected sites at the moment and we're currently putting solutions together for four to five of them. That's what you call making progress on both sides.

"We've found relocation bogs, we have science done as well on bogs that are more difficult. Every bog is different. There is no one size fits all but it's very important to highlight that the ordinary people in the by roads and back roads of rural Ireland are committed to ensuring that resolutions are found.

"Compared to the way things were in 2010/11 when everyone was in the trenches, much progress has been made."

Additional reporting Teresa Mannion