Barry Cowen says he hopes to discuss ban on turf sales with Eamon Ryan this week

Some TDs in constituencies with significant tracts of bog say they have been ‘inundated’ with concerns and complaints

Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen, who has spearheaded opposition within Government to a “cliff-edge” ban on turf sales from September, has said he hopes to discuss the matter with Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan this week.

Some TDs based in constituencies where there are significant tracts of bogland said they were “inundated” with concerns and complaints about the proposed regulations in the run-up to Easter.

“I have never had as many representations on one issue,” said a TD from a western constituency on Monday.

Mr Cowen said he hoped he would be given the time and date for such a meeting with the Green Party leader on Tuesday.


“It is imperative that it be resolved to our satisfaction as soon as possible,” he said. “Mr Ryan’s proposals, as outlined to Kerry Fine Gael TD Brendan Griffin in a parliamentary response, simply won’t wash.”

In his response to Mr Griffin’s question earlier this month, Mr Ryan indicated that those with turbary rights (the right to cut their own banks of turf for domestic use but not to sell it) would be unaffected but all commercial sales of turf would be banned.

The Cabinet is due to meet virtually this week with the Oireachtas in recess, and the proposed turf ban is to be mentioned but is not expected to be discussed in depth.

Mr Ryan is to meet the other Coalition party leaders, Micheál Martin and Leo Varadkar, to discuss the issue, but no date has been confirmed yet.

At present the regulations are being assessed by the European Commission. When they respond the proposals are to be re-examined, sources said, before being approved.

Air pollution

A spokeswoman for Mr Ryan said on Monday: “He has indicated that the regulations will go ahead in September, but that he will work with his Coalition partners in the meantime to engage on how the regulations would be implemented.

“The implementation will focus on the largest sources of air pollution, which is the retail sale of smoky coal, turf and wet wood.”

Separately, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly will on Tuesday name the person who will carry out the review on the circumstances surrounding the proposed secondment of chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan to Trinity College Dublin.

The department said it expected the process to take three to four weeks. It would examine what lessons could be drawn from the process, and make recommendations on foot of those, said a spokesman.

Harry McGee

Harry McGee

Harry McGee is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times