From September 1st this year, this government will make a regulatory provision to prohibit the sale of sod peat, generally known as turf.
In this article, Michael Fitzmaurice Roscommon-Galway, TD and chairperson of the Turf Cutters and Contractors Association, who has branded the decision as “lunacy”, shares his views.
The three-party government want to criminalise someone who sells a bag of turf.
The unprecedented move will cause significant unease amongst rural TDs, including those from Fine Gael and Fianna Fail.
In Minister Ryan’s statement, he says:
“A regulatory provision will be made to prohibit the placing on the market, sale or distribution of sod peat.”
I ask: Are we going down the road where if a person with an elderly neighbour supplies them with a load of turf for free or at a cost that they could be done for distributing turf?
Are we really going to label generous neighbours the same way we do drug dealers: possession with intent to supply?
I don’t believe that Minister Ryan thinks this move will protect the rights of turf cutters, nor can he honestly believe it will save lives. He is being barefaced in his insincerity.
The minister’s ban will hurt vulnerable people suffering from fuel poverty.
At a time of war in Europe and soaring energy prices, Minister Ryan thinks now is right to prevent hard-pressed people from being able to buy a couple of trailers of turf to warm themselves next winter.
Minister Ryan can dress this up all he likes, but his agenda is well known. His approach to this issue is nothing short of lunacy.
The assault on rural Ireland continues. Minister Ryan is leading the charge with the full support of Fine Gael and Fianna Fail.
This inexcusable act of government overreach must be resisted. It is now time that all rural TDs, from every party, stand up and be counted instead of just blaming the Greens for everything.
Without their support, this cannot happen. There is no logic to this move other than to deprive vulnerable people of affordable warmth.
Minister Ryan’s insinuation in his response to Deputy Griffin that people selling and buying turf is in some way responsible for contributing to the deaths of 1,300 and the reduced quality of life of another 16,200 people last year is misinformed at best and misleading at worst.