December 1, 2021
All government parties contributing to horticultural peat farce – Matt Carthy TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture Matt Carthy TD has said that all government parties are now actively contributing to the farce surrounding the availability of peat moss, which has created a crisis in the horticultural sector.  

He called on government to immediately publish the report from the Chairperson of the working group on the matter, and to outline proposals to implement 

The horticulture sector, and the thousands employed within it as well as the communities depending on the economic activity it generates, have been thrust into crisis as a result of an effective ban on the harvesting of horticultural peat within the state.

Teachta Carthy said:

“Successive governments have created this crisis.

“In recent months, we have witnessed the importation of huge shipments of peat from the far side of Europe. There is no justification for that situation just as there was no justification for the previous exportation of peat from Ireland by a state-owned company Bord na Móna.

“The current crisis is a result of the failure of government to act on this matter.

“The current legislative framework is clearly not fit for purpose.

“The government established a working group to examine this matter. The chairperson of that working group submitted his report to the Minister of State Malcolm Noonan in October.  

“The fact that, in December, the Minister still hasn’t published that report is a signal of the lack of urgency that is being afforded by government to this issue.

“The government must publish that report without delay, and outline whether they intend to implement its proposals.

“The Green Party are on record as suggesting that the importation of peat is a viable alternative to the sector. It is not.  

“It is a hypocritical approach to the environment which serves nobody and will lead to the loss of thousands of jobs and a devastating impact on the communities that depend on the Horticulture and Mushroom sectors.

“Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are adding to the farcical approach by government.  

“Last week senators from those two parties published the Horticultural Peat (Temporary Measures) Bill 2021 – the bill was promoted by their respective parties on social media and in local media outlets.

“They fast-tracked the bill to the Seanad this week, and then those parties in government decided that they wouldn’t support it and there wasn’t even a vote on it in the Seanad.

“It was a cynical exercise that did nothing for the sector other than to create false hope. 

“What is required is a solution that allows for the cultivation of peat for domestic horticulture use, that ends the scandal of peat imports and exports to and from the island of Ireland, and a commitment that resources will be invested to secure a long-term viable, sustainable alternative to peat.

“It is time for all government parties to stop playing games on this issue and to deliver that solution as a matter of urgency.”

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