Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald has come out against a mooted ban on the commercial sale of turf from Green Party leader Eamon Ryan.
Environmentalists have said that turf is contributing to air pollution in small towns across rural Ireland and Minister Ryan maintains the ban is coalition policy.
This, however, is contested by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar who told Newstalk that the Government needed to be “sensitive to traditional practices".
Now Sinn Féin have said they too believe the sale of commercial turf should continue:
“In the current situation the proposal coming from Government that the sale of peat would stop now, we think is the wrong move at this time,” Deputy McDonald told Newstalk Breakfast.
“We want… to ensure that people can heat their homes [and] that that continues.
“I think that’s only fair… In many homes, the only way that people are going to heat their homes is by burning peat.”
“Of course we accept that the burning of fossil fuels needs to come to an end, that we have targets to meet.”
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Cost of living crisis
Earlier this week the Government announced they would cut VAT on electricity bills by 13.5% and 9% on gas bills; an existing cut on excise duty on petrol and diesel will be extended until the Budget in October.
However, the Sinn Féin President said the measures were insufficient:
“They have done absolutely nothing on the issue of home heating oil and, your listeners will know, the fill of a tank has doubled in the course of a year,” Deputy McDonald said.
“But the Government have made absolutely no move - we asked them to remove excise on home heating oil, they have refused to do so.
“Despite the fact that a third of homes across the state and two thirds in the north-west region rely on home heating oil.”
Main image: An Irish turf cutter, cutting sods of turf with a slean, the traditional way of turf cutting like it's been done for ages.