Local politicians weigh in on Ryan’s proposed turf ban

Local public representatives have weighed in on the Minister for the Environment’s plans to ban the sale of sod peat from September of this year.

  Fianna Fáil Senator Eugene Murphy claims that everything will be done to ensure that those who use solid fuel would not be left behind while Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice has accused the Government of wanting to criminalise those who sell turf.

  Speaking this week, Senator Murphy said he had been approached by a number of people who are fearful that no turf will be available to them after September.

  “There is no doubt that there is an all-out campaign to reduce use of fossil fuels, but I want to assure those who rely on turf – and there are many in this part of the country – that they will not be left without turf,” he said.

  “Remember, if you have a piece of bog and it is not under SAC (Special Area of Conservation) status, there is no restriction on you cutting turf. I also am confident that if a family member cuts turf for another family member as a necessity, they will not prevented from doing so”.

  Reacting to recent comments made by Minister Eamon Ryan, Senator Murphy admitted that there was unease among rural TDs and said that it was “madness” to put pressure on those who need turf during the current fuel crisis.

  “It may be true to say that only 5 per cent nationally use turf but that can be up to 50 per cent in counties like Roscommon and Galway,” he said.

  Meanwhile, Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice accused the Government of wanting to criminalise “generous neighbours”.

  “Are we really going down the road where if a person with an elderly neighbour supplies them with a load of turf for free or at cost that they could be done for distributing turf? Are we really going to label generous neighbours the same way we do drug dealers – possession with intent to supply?”

  Deputy Fitzmaurice added that Minister Ryan’s approach to the situation was “nothing short of lunacy” and called on rural TDs to stand up against “the continued assault on rural Ireland”.

  “Minister Ryan’s insinuation in his response to Deputy (Brendan) Griffin that people selling and buying turf is in some way responsible for contributing to the deaths of 1,300 and the reduced quality of life of another 16,200 people, last year, is misinformed at best and misleading at worst!

  “The time is coming very rapidly for the Government to put Minister Ryan back in his box before he rings the deathknell of rural Ireland, once and for all,” Fitzmaurice concluded.

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