Sinn Féin spokesperson on Rural Development Claire Kerrane TD has criticised Government proposals to ban the commercial sale of turf later this year.
Speaking today, Teachta Kerrane said:
“The Government’s plan to ban the sale of turf from September is yet another sign that they are out of touch with rural communities and the cost of living crisis that is hitting people.
“Many rural communities rely on turf which has been one of the only forms of heating not to see prices spiral in recent months. The Government’s plan punishes 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 refusal of Government to take any action on assisting households with rising home heating oil only leaves rural households even more vulnerable.
“Like the unfair carbon tax, their policy on turf 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 I am concerned that 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.
“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.
“The Government has been in chaos about whether they will introduce this policy or not. In the last twenty four hours, we’ve had two very differing views from two of the three leaders in Government. This flip-flopping on what their intentions actually are is unhelpful. Their in-fighting and deflection is failing people in rural communities.
“Government must also acknowledge that for many, turf is not simply a source of heating, it is part of rural life.
“This proposed ban on the sale of turf is unfair, unworkable and must not go ahead. The Government must stand up for rural communities now and ensure that they are not hit with this unfair policy.”