No ban on turf sales for ‘remainder of year’, says Taoiseach

Proposed regulations to ban sale of turf from September caused furore within FF and FG

There will be no ban on turf sales for “the remainder of the year”, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said.

Proposed regulations to ban the commercial sale of turf from September caused furore within ranks of coalition partners Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael on Tuesday, with Ministers and backbenchers expressing anger at the decision.

However, speaking in the Dáil on Wednesday, Mr Martin said: "There is no ban on the use of turf in rural Ireland and there will be no ban for the remainder of the year."

The Taoiseach was responding to Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald who said Mr Martin had indicated he would vote against her party’s motion later on Wednesday calling for the ban on the sale of turf from September to be scrapped.

Ms McDonald said this was despite frustration being felt right across rural communities and “despite the fact you couldn’t even convince your own back benchers of the merits of this plan”.

“This plan is the wrong move at the wrong time,” she added. “It’s unfair, it alienates communities and it will be unworkable.”

Mr Martin said the only way the Government could implement the motion was to get rid of legislation that underpins the carbon tax.

There will also be a vote on Wednesday night on a motion tabled by the Rural Independents to remove the carbon tax.

Speaking earlier, Independent TD Michael Healy-Rae said Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil had “lost rural Ireland”.

“No matter what twisting and turning you do tonight with the Sinn Féin motion which will be voted on and no matter what amendments and messing around with it you do ... let the message go out from the floor of Dáil Éireann that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have lost rural Ireland in a way you will never get it back and never be trusted again,” he said.