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The Climate Action Bill will be debated in the Dáil tomorrow.

Healy-Rae 'ashamed' he's selling imported German peat briquettes in his Kerry shop

The Rural Independent group said today that the government’s climate bill will ‘kill off the Irish farmer’.

KERRY TD MICHAEL Healy-Rae said he is “ashamed” to admit that he is selling peat briquettes imported from Germany as peat from the midlands is too hard to come by. 

His comments were made ahead of the Climate Action Bill being debated in the Dáil on Wednesday. 

The bill commits Ireland to carbon neutrality by 2050 by cutting its emissions by 51% between 2018 and 2030 and to net zero no later than 2050.

The Rural Independent group said today that the government’s climate bill will “kill off the Irish farmer”, adding that the people of rural Ireland are being ignored. 

“I’m not a climate change denier, I’m not trying to say we shouldn’t improve on the way we live, the way we carry on our business,” Michael Healy-Rae told reporters today.

However, he went on to state the bill will “finish” small family farms.

Healy-Rae said he was “ashamed of my life” that he is selling briquettes from Germany in his own shop in Co Kerry.

“Can the Greens tell me how me selling German briquettes that have to be brought in from Germany – how does that make sense… importing peat into Ireland,” he said.

We “shut down the midlands” but have to import it in to be sold, he said, asking: “Where is the sense in that?”

“A lot of what they [the government] are telling us to do is stupid,” he said.

When asked about whether there is a shortage of peat briquettes being sold in Ireland by Bord na Móna, a spokesperson for Bord na Móna said its fuels factory is currently working at full capacity, with production and nationwide supply of peat briquettes in line with last year’s volume.

While they approach the end of the heating season their stock holding naturally gets tighter, they said.

“As previously stated, Bord na Móna will continue to manufacture peat briquettes well into 2024. Until then, our clear focus will be on investing in and developing a wider range of sustainable home heating products for our customers who look to us to supply them with quality Irish solid fuel products,” they added.

Bord na Móna

Bord na Móna said earlier this year that briquette manufacturing at its last remaining factory will end in 2024.

The semi-state company has one remaining briquette factory in Derrinlough, Co Offaly which will continue to manufacture until 2024.

The harvesting of peat was fully suspended in Bórd na Móna bogs in June last year as the company moved towards its rehabilitation plan. 

Healy-Rae said the shutting down of Bord na Móna was a “sin”.

He said the fact he has to import peat is counterproductive and is doing more harm to the environment. 

His brother, Kerry TD Danny Healy-Rae said:

“I do not subscribe to climate change, the climate has changed back over the years, that has always happened.

“I honestly believe whatever we do won’t change the climate… but I do agree we can improve our environment and we need to do that.”

Healy-Rae went on to complain about the commercial aircraft industry and its impact on the environment.

Speaking to reporters at Leinster House, he pointed to an airplane in the sky and said “the next thing they’ll be peeing down on top of us whenever one of them will get a notion”.

“Whatever we do on this earth will not affect or change the weather, that’s my honest humble belief,” he said.

Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath said the current climate bill will make sure that family farmers are “a thing of the past”. 

He said some of the proposals are “so off the wall”, there will be no small Irish farms in ten years. 

The group is tabling a number of amendments to the bill, including 0% Vat on insulation for people to insulate their homes. 

Independent TD Carol Nolan urged the government to accept their amendments “if they care about rural Ireland”. 

She said being “radical and extreme and not listening to rural people is not the way to go”. 

Green Party Senator Pauline O’Reilly said today that she thought the new bill will provide more job opportunities for rural Ireland.

She said “staying in the past” will do a “disservice” to rural Ireland.

Not all retailers are being forced to sell imported peat briquettes, she said on RTÉ’s Drive Time, stating that there should not be a shortage of Irish peat briquettes being sold. 

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