Credit: oireachtas.ie

WATCH: I’m proud of those who cut their own turf to keep warm, Healy-Rae tells Dáil

Independent TD for Kerry, Danny Healy-Rae, has told the Dáil that government policies are to blame for the increase in everyday costs, stating that he is “proud” of the people who continue to cut their own turf following a ban on the sale of turf, smoky coal and wet wood. 

Supporters of the controversial turf ban, brought about by the Green party, claim that the legislation is necessary to improve air quality in rural areas. It came into force earlier this month.

Speaking as the Dail debate on the Credit Guarantee (Amendment) Bill resumed on Wednesday, Rural independent TD Healy-Rae took aim at the Government’s energy policies driving costs up for normal people.

“The skyrocketing Irish energy prices are largely caused by three government factors,” he said. “The ongoing dysfunctional energy policy position places an effective ban on new domestic energy sources that are not renewable. If we are to talk about the dismantling of the Shannonbridge and Lanesborough power stations – every day since they were closed the cost of electricity has gone up”.

Healy-Rae said that while he welcomed credit being made available to businesses, caution should be warranted to avoid businesses getting into debt to keep afloat.

“I welcome credit being made more easily available to businesses across the board. However, we do not want businesses to go into debt,” he said. “The cause of many of them being in trouble is the cost of electricity, petrol and diesel. When we talk about the cost of living going up, it is basically all due to the cost of energy.”

“There are so many things we could be self-sufficient in. I do not agree with all this climate change because the records tell us that climate change happened back over the years”.

Healy-Rae dismissed suggestions that ordinary people should be blamed for creating climate change, adding that he is “proud” of those who are self-sufficient enough to cut their own turf to keep themselves warm, as he pointed to the increased cost of heating oil.

“I do not agree that what we are doing is the cause of it, including the people cutting enough turf to keep themselves warm for the winter. I am proud of the people who go out and cut their own turf and are keeping themselves warm when the rain and bad weather come. I am proud of those people, and they are proud of themselves for being self-sufficient.

“We know members of the Government are not happy about it. Do they want those people to be cold? The cost of heating oil today is €1.40 or €1.50 a litre. It costs an enormous amount at this time to fill a tank. People are putting only €300 or €400 worth of oil in to keep themselves going for a couple of weeks”.

 

The TD said he believed that “the Government seems to be blaming the current war on everything,” adding:

“This country survived during the Second World War because of turf. The Government seems to be blaming the current war for everything. Surely, we should be doing things to help ourselves to be as self-sufficient as we can be, not pandering to Russia by buying its coal and being dependent on it for gas. We should be storing gas in the old Kinsale Head gas field. We could have bought enough gas during the summer, when it was much cheaper, and stored it there for use. 

“We could be developing the oil field off Barryroe, from which we could derive gas, petrol and oil distillates. Likewise, deposits of gas were found off the Kerry coast but, in 2019, the then Taoiseach, who is now the Tánaiste, took away the licences from the prospective operators who were going to drill there. We could now be exporting gas to other parts of the world if we sourced our own gas. Instead, the Government has cut off its nose to spite its face. It does not understand the harm it is doing to the poor honest people who are trying to live, keep a roof over their heads and travel to work faced with the high cost of petrol and diesel,” he said.

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