Turf ban: Green Party defends ‘workable’ and ‘life-saving’ proposals

Turf Ban: Green Party Defends ‘Workable’ And ‘Life-Saving’ Proposals
Minister for the Environment and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan. Photo: PA
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By Dominic McGrath, PA

Green Party politicians have hit back at critics of plans to curtail the commercial sale of turf, calling it a “life-saving” measure.

The leader of the Green Party said on Tuesday that the proposal, which has attracted the ire of some backbench TDs and rural communities, was “workable”.


Speaking on his way into Cabinet, Eamon Ryan said: “It is a workable, proper good legal approach.

“Ignoring air pollution, ignoring the fact it is killing our people, I don’t think that’s an option or solution.”

Budget 2010 – Ireland
The proposal has attracted sustained opposition from rural communities and TDs. Photo: Julien Behal/PA


Some Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil TDs have united to attack the proposal, which they say represents an attack on rural communities for whom turf remains a crucial and affordable fuel source.

The row has posed a challenge to the stability of the three-party coalition Government, with the Green Party leader seeking to reassure his Cabinet and coalition colleagues that the plan is proportionate and will not amount to a full-scale ban.

Sinn Féin is set to introduce a motion in the Dáil condemning the plan and calling for it to scrapped.

Pippa Hackett, the Green Party junior minister in the Department of Agriculture, defended the proposals.


“This is ultimately about air quality, it’s about saving people’s lives, improving people’s quality of life.”

The Co Offaly senator said: “I know full well what this plan means for a lot of people on the ground and I think that’s why the proposals are quite fair as they stand.”

Ms Hackett hit out at the backbenchers opposing the plan, telling RTÉ radio that such grumblings were the “reason we are years waiting for this”.

Explained: What's the plan to ban turf in my fire?
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She said that there was ongoing consultation over the plan.


“We are proposing the people in most small villages in Ireland will not be affected by this. They will still have access to turf, they still will be able to buy it and they still would be able to burn it.

“It’s the larger urban centres that have the high air quality problem.”

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