Fine Gael TDs issue stern warning to Eamon Ryan over turf ban

Fine Gael TDs issue stern warning to Eamon Ryan over turf ban

Transport Minister and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said he is not for turning on the banning of turf. Instead, the Green Party leader said he was still committed to introducing new regulations. Picture: Brian Lawless/PA 

Fine Gael TDs have delivered a fresh warning to Green Party leader Eamon Ryan over plans to limit the use of turf this summer, saying any decisions must have their support.

Following a furious bust-up earlier this year, the final decision was delayed but Fine Gael TDs, including former Cabinet ministers, are again warning Mr Ryan not to ignore their anger.

Mayo TD, and former rural affairs minister, Michael Ring said that any future decisions made by the Government on turf must be fully supported by Fine Gael ministers, TDs and senators.

“People have been cutting, selling, and buying turf for generations. It is an integral part of our way of life in many areas of rural Ireland,” Mr Ring said.

“While we need to improve our air quality and protect public health, we must acknowledge the reality that the use of turf only contributes to a very small proportion of air quality problems.” 

Mr Ring sought to dismiss suggestions that future government decisions on turf would be rushed through by Mr Ryan during the Summer.

“There will be no decision agreed by Fine Gael on this issue until our parliamentary party, our ministers, TDs, senators and MEPs, have an opportunity to meet in person and discuss it,” Mr Ring said.

This is the position of our party leader, Leo Varadkar and we fully back him on it.

“Turf use is on the decline and those who rely on it should not face any obstacles in sourcing or supplying it. 

"Anyone who has spent a day in a bog with the midges knows, to cut, foot, collect, store, and distribute sods of turf is backbreaking as it is. Let’s not make it any harder.

“But let’s face facts too and facts spell out the reality here. The use of turf is needed now and will be needed into the future. There are no alternatives sources readily available to replace turf”, said Mr Ring.

He said Fine Gael is working across government to ensure a fair resolution on the proposals for the sale and distribution of turf.

We are working to protect the rights of people who cut and use turf across the country where it is heavily relied on as a fuel source.

Last week, the communications minister was presented with a sod of turf as a turf cutter told him nobody was going to stop him cutting turf until he dies.

Mr Ryan has said he is not for turning on the banning of turf. Instead, the Green Party leader said he was still committed to introducing new regulations.

Mr Ryan said: "Retrofitting and transitioning to heat pumps can help reduce air pollution from the burning of solid fuels, and this Government remains committed to such measures."

But he added: "New regulations are also necessary as each year some 1,300 people die prematurely in Ireland due to air pollution from solid fuel burning."

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