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The proposed ban on the sale of turf has gone down badly in Clare. Photograph by John Kelly.

Turf talking Clare TD says Green proposals lacking reality

WHILE the government managed to defeat a Sinn Fein motion looking to stop the introduction of new laws on fuel including a ban on the sale of turf, they remain under fire for the proposals.

Plans to ban the sale of turf have been discussed for weeks now but there appears to be little support for the move around Clare, one of the counties where a significant percentage of people use it.

Clare TD Michael McNamara said that a degree of realism is missing from the Green Party’s approach to the issue.

“The Green Party have correctly identified problems but I think their solutions lack reality. It’s all well and good to increase taxes on things like green diesel, ban turf, ban this, that and the other. But the purpose of all of that is to shape behaviour when there are alternatives are in place.

“We’re putting the cart before the horse here, the alternatives have to be put in place. This idea that everyone can go and retrofit their houses, people don’t have the money to pay upfront and then claim 50% of it back.

“In my view they need to concentrate on putting alternatives in place, and then you can try to mould behaviour and push people towards alternatives. But pushing people towards alternatives that don’t exist is non sensical. All you’re doing is punishing people and hurting people. “

East Clare county councillor Pat Hayes said that the proposed ban on the sale of turf should never have been seriously considered.

“I think the way it was handled, flying a kite like that, particularly with the costs of fuel and energy for householders as they look towards the next winter, it’s something that shouldn’t have been brought into the equation. It’s completely off the mark really.

“It’s a small group of people that cut turf and buy turf and sell a bank of turf here or there, there’s very little impact on the environment. I think it’s a ridiculous thing to have floated in the first place.”

He said that eliminating the burning of turf would only result in very marginal environmental benefits anyway.

“The older generation are moving away from it and there are new modern houses, so there is less and less of it, but at present people still want to continue what they are at. I think there’s far bigger crises in the world now around energy rather than worrying about a few people cutting a few sods of turf.”

The Sinn Féin turf ban motion was defeated by 72 votes to 63 in the Dáil.

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.