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HomeFarming News‘My family unit would have disintegrated if it was not for turf’
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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‘My family unit would have disintegrated if it was not for turf’

Proposed ban on turf

“The government has crossed and has hurt many people in rural Ireland,” according to independent TD, Danny Healy-Rae.

That is how the Kerry representative described Minister Ryan’s proposed ban on the sale of turf, which may – following mixed reports – come into effect this September.

During a debate in Dáil Éireann on Wednesday, April 27th, 2022, on the financial resolution: no 2: mineral oils tax, he said that people are “angered, mad, sad and sore” after “being hit” by the suggestion that they cannot buy turf.

“Is it because there is no VAT in turf? What set did the government against turf all of a sudden?” he asked.

He said the government is trying to stop “poor” people who have traditionally cut and sold turf to their neighbours.

Proposed ban on turf

Healy-Rae told the house: “The Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications said that grannies would not be criminalised.”

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“God almighty, these people are the people who brought our country to where it is today. They worked flat on their backs when there was nothing at all in this country.”

“They cut the turf and kept themselves warm. It is absolutely ridiculous to think that at the end of their days, some minister in power would try to stop them from buying a few bags of turf, a rail of turf or a butt of turf, as it was known. It is absolutely ridiculous.”

The deputy told the Dáil that “my family unit would have disintegrated back in the early 1930s and 1940s if it was not for turf”.

He explained that “all my grandmother, grandfather and father had was four cows”.

“They sold a few rails of turf and a bank of turf. The purchaser cut it and saved it themselves,” he added.

That is how they, and many people like them, survived, he explained.

He stated that he has been requesting “some real meaningful” reduction for motorists, the haulage industry and people who use fuel to heat their homes for some time.

VAT reductions 

He drew reference to the government’s move to reduce VAT on various energy sources temporarily. These include:

  • A 9% reduced VAT rate on gas and electricity from May 1st to October 31st, 2022;
  • Extended VAT-inclusive 20c reduction in mineral oil for petrol and a 15c reduction on diesel;
  • A further VAT-inclusive reduction in mineral oil tax of 3c/L on MGO, with effect from May 1st until budget day.

He described the government’s above action as “very minimal”. He stated that the government is saying that this is what is being provided and that it had to get permission from Europe to be allowed to reduce the VAT rate.

“In all my time, I never heard that we had to ask Europe to increase it in the first place. That is a fact. I know I am right.”

“I never heard that the government had to get permission to increase it in the first place.”

“Reducing VAT on gas and electricity to 13.5% and 9% only is of no use to the people who are on the road with four wheels under them, whatever type of vehicle it is. That is not enough.”

He said these people are hard-pressed, and their backs are to the wall.


In his view, what the government is offering is “very minimal and is not enough,” in his view. Furthermore, the deputy told the house that the carbon tax on a 900-litre fill of home heating oil is “a massive” €106.07.

“As I said earlier today, people are under savage pressure, especially those who are working and on their own.”

“Farmers are hard-pressed with the savage cost of fuel. The government is hurting people very badly,” he told the house.

“There is so much else to be sorted out in the world. We see what is happening in other countries. We are all under the one sky.”

“Look at what they are doing in America. Look at the size of the vehicles that they are driving. Russia and China are using coal-burning power stations to generate electricity,” he concluded.

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