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Call to restart horticultural peat harvesting as food security becomes major issue 

Independent TD Carol Nolan has said that Government must now move to immediately re-examine a series of decisions that it took in mid-January with respect to the horticultural peat sector.

The deputy for Laois-Offaly was speaking as the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue confirmed that he is to engage in a wide-ranging dialogue with Irish farmer organisations aimed at dramatically increasing the level of grain crop outputs following the devastating war in Ukraine:

“All of our hearts are breaking for the people of Ukraine and indeed the ordinary people of Russia who have been dragged into a demented war of aggression,” said Deputy Nolan.

“We now know however that the issue of food security is front and centre in Irish and European policy. This must be reflected in the actions that our Government can take immediately and without delay,” said Deputy Nolan.

“One of those key decisions must involve the reaction of Government in January when it chose to ignore the recommendations contained within its Working Group Report on Horticultural Peat-a decision that everyone within the sector agreed would only escalate the collapse.”

“Before the Ukrainian crisis broke, our own horticulture sector characterised the Government response to the Report as an economic ‘catastrophe.’

“Those concerns have now been magnified by the clear need to maintain and develop our own indigenous levels of food security and food cultivation.”

I am calling on Government to urgently revise its response to the Horticultural Peat Report and I am specifically asking both the Minister for Planning and the Minister for Agriculture to accept the recommendations of the Report so that we can avoid the calamitous outcomes that will inevitably overtake and collapse the sector in their absence,” concluded Deputy Nolan.

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