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An Irish turf cutter, cutting sods of turf with a slean. Alamy Stock Photo
turf ban vote

Government defeats Dáil turf ban motion by 72 to 63 votes

The votes were aimed at scrapping plans to restrict the sale of turf and cancel the carbon tax increase on 1 May.

THE GOVERNMENT HAS defeated all attempts to stymie the introduction of new laws on fuel including those affecting turf cutting.

Multiple votes were taken in a session described by Ceann Comhairle Sean Ó Fearghaíl as a ‘marathon’. 

There were at times tetchy exchanges and tense comments from Sinn Fein’s Pearse Doherty but in the end the Government carried the day unscathed. 

The Sinn Féin turf ban motion was defeated by 72 votes to 63 in the Dáil.

The votes were aimed at scrapping plans to restrict the sale of turf and cancel the carbon tax increase on 1 May. It would also temporarily eliminate excise duty on home heating oil.

A similar vote by the Rural Independent group to remove carbon tax was defeated by 77 votes to 58.

Image from iOS A screen grab of the 72 to 63 vote margin.

Environment Minister Eamon Ryan has been championing moves to restrict the commercial sale of turf in Ireland with opponents in the Dáil claiming that the plans would be detrimental to people in rural communities.

The regulations, which were due to come into force from September, have not yet been finalised and a government spokesperson said yesterday that they would be published in the coming weeks. 

An Taoiseach Micheál Martin threw some doubt on that timeline today, however, stating: “There is no ban on the use of turf in rural Ireland and there will be no ban for the remainder of the year.”

As envisaged, the regulations being suggested by the minister would not represent a ban on the burning of turf, with no ban either on the sharing of turf with family members or neighbours.  

The clarifications have not been sufficient for several TDs, however, with Independent TD Mattie McGrath telling the Dáil today that people would be “frightened about the turf police coming along”. 

Sinn Féin has called for the turf restrictions to be scrapped, with party leader Mary Lou McDonald saying today that “older people and people on lower incomes with no alternative, will struggle and struggle badly”. 

As well as calling for the scrapping of the turf measures, Sinn Féin’s motion also sought to cancel the scheduled Carbon Tax increase next week.

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