Two country-based ministers today raised the ongoing dispute with the education secretary over proposals to ban the sale of peat in Cabinet Norma Foley Criticism of government communications on this subject.
s Foley and Heather Humphreys for Social Protection and Rural Affairs both spoke on the issue at the weekly ministerial meeting amid an ongoing row over Environment Secretary Ryan’s proposals to ban the sale of smoky fuels, including turf.
Ms Foley, a Fianna Fáil TD, is said to have said it was a real problem in her constituency and elsewhere, and has criticized government communications on the issue in recent weeks. She said the coalition isn’t bringing backbenchers.
Although she doesn’t specifically criticize the government, Ms Humphreys, a Fine Gael TD, said nobody expects wealth from mowing and those days are over. Ms Humphreys is said to have told colleagues that if the little peat cutter is left alone, there will be no problem for the government.
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Sources said Ms Foley’s contribution to the cabinet was “passionate”, while Ms Humphreys’ comments were described as “strong”.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin is said to have repeated his remarks to the media on the way to the meeting that “ultimately charcoal is the villain, the real enemy” and that “peat is dying out as a basic fuel”.
However, a Cabinet source said while there was no disagreement among ministers over the move to ban commercial sales of smoky fuels, it was not clear what the resolution on the turf problem would be.
Mr Ryan has promised exceptions for people in small rural communities of fewer than 500 people, where people would be exempt from the ban on selling and giving away peat.
But the proposal has angered Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael backbenchers, who argue it will not be feasible.
Mr Ryan is due to meet separately with backbenchers from both parties on Tuesday afternoon to defuse the growing row.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/ministers-norma-foley-and-heather-humphreys-criticise-government-over-turf-ban-in-passionate-and-forceful-exchanges-at-cabinet-41589139.html Ministers Norma Foley and Heather Humphreys criticize the government over the precinct ban in an “impassioned and energetic” exchange in Cabinet