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‘We could power the country with the hatred for the Greens in rural Ireland right now’

The backlash against the proposal from Green Party leader, Eamon Ryan, to ban the sale of turf continues, as rural TDs and those with access to cutting and selling small amounts of the fuel continue to rail against the measure. 

Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath claimed that ‘people who gift a bag of turf to a neighbour would be criminalised’ as he joined rural TDs in calling for the proposal to be scrapped. There is also growing unease amongst rural TDs in Fianna Fáíl and Fine Gael at the measure, fearing a backlash from already disgruntled voters. Kerry TD for Fine Gael, Brendan Griffin, has said the time is not right for the measure.

The Rural Independent Group, of which Mattie McGrath is leader, described Ryan’s plan as “insane and dogmatic”.

“It is mind boggling that the government would even contemplate, never mind announce, that they are proceeding with introducing regulations to ban the marketing, sale or distribution of turf from September this year,” McGrath said. “Announcing this news in the middle of an unprecedented energy crisis is unforgivable.”

The Tipperary deputy also pointed out that turf continues to be a primary source of home heating for many counties, saying that in Offaly, 38% of households still use turf to heat homes, while in Tipperary, around 4,000 households use turf for heating purposes.

He described the Green Party as  “living on cloud cuckoo land”, saying it had “no grasp of the current energy and financial realities impacting Irish families”.

In case anyone might underestimate the opposition to the ban, one commentator spelled out the feeling in rural Ireland.

‘We could power the country with the hatred for the Greens in rural Ireland right now,” she posted.

Others posted that they would continue to provide turf in defiance of the ban, saying  “we will distribute & sell turf to all our elderly neighbours for as long as we see fit, because we care about them having hot water and heat. They have worked all their lives in this corrupt country & deserve comfort in their latter years.”

Artist Jim Fitzpatrick questioned the move in light of the actions of other countries.

While many commentators pointed to the hypocrisy of focusing on Ireland’s ban on turf and the rush to shut down peat harvesting –  while importing peat from abroad. “I’m all for phasing out of turf but its false economy and false climate action to ban turf cutting in Ireland and then import from Eastern Europe. Cart before horse,” said one post.

Karen Berry posted the image that most imagine when they think of a turf fire, and described the move as madness.

And someone asked the obvious question:

 

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