According to data released by the Minister for Agriculture to the Aontú party, 392,853 tonnes of peat were exported from Ireland last year, along with 58,000 tonnes in the first two months of this year.
The Minister has also confirmed that last year saw 32,000 tonnes of peat imported from the likes of Canada, Germany, Britain, Lithuania, the Netherlands and the North of Ireland.
Speaking today, Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD said:
“This is truly hard to comprehend. We have a situation where the government – with the Greens representing the tail that is wagging the dog – clamping down hard and threatening farmers and small turf cutters in rural Ireland while all the while importing and exporting like there’s no tomorrow at a huge cost to the environment. It seems the government don’t want turf being cut or peat being harvested on this island, but they’ll give you the thumbs up if you own an acre of bog in Lithuania or Germany. It makes no sense from an environmental perspective, given the added emissions associated with transporting the peat into this country from afar”.
Deputy Tóibín continued: “We in Aontú believe that the small farmer and those who cut turf in rural areas to heat their homes, should be left well enough alone. It seems the government want to reduce emissions in our jurisdiction but don’t care if the means of doing that is to outsource our emissions – as long as Ireland looks good statistically on paper they don’t care about the global environment”.
“We see the same with beef – they’ll replace the small Irish farmer and his green grass with the Brazilian farmer who thrives off deforestation, overgrazing and forest fires. It makes no sense whatsoever. We need to support Irish farmers and family turf cutters. Trade with the north is natural and to be encouraged, but the tonnes of peat coming from overseas is deeply troubling and hypocritical”, concluded Deputy Tóibín.