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Turfed Out

Ryan's response to Dáil question on turf ban omitted the word 'draft'

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan confirmed that his response to the question was based on draft regulations and has yet to go to the government.

GREEN PARTY LEADER and Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan has said that a Dáil question answered in his name concerning a ban on the sale of turf had the word “draft” omitted.

Speaking on Newstalk’s On The Record programme, Ryan confirmed that his response to the question was based on draft regulations and has yet to go to the government for approval.

“We’re in the middle of a consultation process,” Ryan said. “It hasn’t gone to government yet and that was always acknowledged.”

When asked by host Gavan Reilly whether his statement in the Dáil was incorrect, Ryan said: “It should have said draft. It should have put the word ‘draft’ in front of it.”

But he insisted that “it was open and transparent that we were engaged in [a] consultation process”.

The new regulations would impact the sale and distribution of turf, but in the weeks following his statement in the Dáil, Ryan has insisted that turf will still be burned when the ban takes effect.

“We won’t put your granny in prison for burning turf,” he told reporters earlier this month.

Also speaking on On The Record, Sinn Féin’s environment spokesperson Matt Carthy said the regulations were “punitive” and this coming September is “absolutely the wrong time” to impose them.

Referring to the rapidly rising cost of living, Carthy said that right now, “workers and families need supports rather than to be penalised”.

“All the evidence points to the fact that people have moved away from turf in quite sizable numbers when credible, affordable alternatives are available,” he said. “This move penalises the wrong people.”

In response, Ryan argued that the issue of a turf ban has been “ignored for decades” and now was the time to impose one.

The European Environment Agency estimates that 1,300 people each year in Ireland die prematurely from air pollution caused in part by the burning of solid fuels such as poor quality turf and smoky coal.

But Ryan reiterated that the new regulations would not amount to a “complete ban” on turf: “Those who are sharing or gifting [turf] to a neighbour, or where it is outside villages and towns where it isn’t part of the retail system – that will still continue to exist.

“The regulations will be about the retail – large, commercial distribution. And it won’t be about that small family, friends, local, rural communities which are a very different situation to villages and towns.”

Sinn Féin’s

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