The Government has dismissed a request to reconsider its rejection of a phased reduction in the use of peat by 2030 and with a complete cessation date by 2035, according to Independent TD, Carol Nolan.
A request to the Green Party’s Minister of State at the Department of Housing; Local Government and Heritage, Malcolm Noonan, to reconvene the Working Group on Horticultural Peat, which made the recommendation, was also dismissed.
The Minister was responding to a series of parliamentary questions by the Laois-Offaly TD.
“Government, and in particular, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in conjunction with the Departments of Environment, Climate and Communications and the Department of Housing; Local Government and Heritage have now it clear that they are going to double-down on a course of actions that will completely destabilise and undermine our indigenous horticultural peat sector,” Deputy Nolan said.
“I simply do not understand how they can be so reckless and dismissive of the very clear concerns that have been articulated by those who have decades of experience operating within the sector.”
“I have been informed by representative bodies for the peat sector that we have now imported more than 40,000 tonnes just in the last five months alone.”
This is sheer lunacy and it is putting a €469 million horticulture industry in imminent jeopardy along with tens of thousands of direct and indirect jobs in rural Ireland.
My fear at this point is that Government and the relevant ministers seem incapable of realising the extent of the threat which now confronts the horticultural sector.
They have presented so-called ‘solutions’ that would be laughable if the matter were not so serious. Nothing short of a full implementation of the Working Group’s sensible, pragmatic and just recommendations will do at this point.
We are approaching the point of no return. The time for action and engagement is now,” concluded Deputy Nolan.