Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture Matt Carthy TD has said that the government must reverse its proposed ban on the sale of turf.
He said that the proposal was a punitive measure in the midst of a cost of living crisis that further punishes people with no support to help them with a fair transition.
He added that conflicting statements and mixed messages from Government in recent days had led to great concerns in rural communities who need urgent clarity as a result.
Teachta Carthy said:
“This proposed ban on the sale of turf is the wrong move at the wrong time and will penalise the wrong people.
“It is yet another sign that the Government is out of touch with rural communities and the cost of living crisis that is hitting people.
“This proposal must be reversed, and the Government must offer clarity to the many communities who do not know where they stand after mixed messaging and conflicting statements from ministers since last week.
“Those concerns need to be allayed – this is about people just wanting to be able to afford to heat their homes.
“Such a ban would punish communities who rely on turf, instead of introducing measures to support communities in transitioning away from this form of heating in a way that is fair and sustainable.
“The Government could have identified several years ago the homes which use turf, to ensure that they received adequate support to help them with a fair transition. Instead, they failed to do so and have now gone straight to this punitive measure.
“Government actions and other factors have made heating homes increasingly unaffordable.
“Turf has been one of the only forms of heating not to see prices spiral in recent months, and is the last available option for many.
“Like the unfair carbon tax, it hits those on lowest incomes and in rural areas hardest while failing to go after the major polluters.
“Climate change is one of the biggest issues facing our planet and urgent action is required. But ill-thought out policies like this damage environmental protection by alienating communities. We must ensure that communities can support climate action in a fair and workable way.
“Sinn Féin will oppose this measure and continue to advocate for Climate Action and public health measures that do not penalise those without alternatives.”