Draft proposals ‘banning commercial sale of turf’ to be published next week

Restrictions due to be introduced on retail and internet sales, Minister for Environment tells Dáil

Draft proposals banning the commercial sale of turf will be published next week, Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan has said.

Mr Ryan said the restrictions are due to be introduced on “retail and internet” sales and not where “traditional arrangements” exist.

The Minister was responding to Sinn Féin TD Matt Carthy in the Dáil on Thursday, who said the Central Bank had just pointed out that inflation would reach 10 per cent and much of that was being driven by soaring energy costs.

“Many families will simply be unable to heat their homes come the autumn. They’re actually in despair with worry as to how they will make ends meet,” said the Cavan-Monaghan TD.

“In that context, it is bizarre that you plan to bring forward ... proposals to ban the sale of turf, considering that such a ban would remove the only viable source of heating for many families.

“Do you not recognise how hare-brained a proposal that is considering people actually want and need Government to wise up and bring forward proposals that will support them, rather than make their lives even harder?”

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In response, Mr Ryan said where there was a “traditional arrangement” in place, whereby someone had turbary rights for cutting turf and selling to a neighbour, that would not be restricted.

“Where the restrictions will be introduced is on retail and internet, on that commercial operation,” he said.

Mr Ryan said the vast majority of turf sales were done through the traditional mechanism he had mentioned.

“This is about regulating, first and foremost, smoky coal,” he added. “It will not affect those who are relying on traditional persons selling [turf] to them for their heat or for their own use. That’s the case.”

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times