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The Green Party’s Neasa Hourigan is attacking the government for doing “nothing” to tackle air pollution for ten years as the turf ban row rages on

The war over a proposed turf ban continues within the government after Green Party rebel TD Neasa Hourigan slammed Fine Gael politicians for doing “nothing” on air pollution for ten years.

Reen Party leader Eamon Ryan is set to meet with backbenchers from Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil today to settle disputes over the proposed ban on turf sales from September.

Speaking to reporters outside Leinster House today, Ms Hourigan said air pollution from burning fossil fuels had been known to cause health problems for 30 years and slammed Fine Gael for doing “nothing” about it.

Today, two country-based ministers raised the ongoing dispute over proposals to ban the sale of peat in Cabinet with the Minister for Education Norma Foley Criticism of government communications on this subject.

The Indo Daily: For goodness sake! What turf wars, the CO2 tax and other budget increases mean for you


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Ms Foley and Heather Humphreys for Social Protection and Rural Affairs both spoke at the weekly ministerial meeting on the subject.

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.

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 the commercial sale of smoky fuels, it was not clear what the resolution for the turf problem would be.

Mr Ryan has promised exemptions 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.

Fine Gael TD Joe Carey said he hoped today’s meeting with Green Party leader Eamon Ryan could clear up the “mixed messages” on the turf sale ban.

Fellow Senator Seán Kyne said there had been “clear communication problems” surrounding the ban and that Minister Ryan’s poorly worded parliamentary question that sparked the controversy had raised “major concern” in rural communities.

His response to the question was that banning the sale of peat would prevent people from cutting peat and “putting it on the market for sale or distribution to others”.

“September first is absolutely premature,” Senator Kyne said.

“There are too many details that need to be worked out.”

Senator Kyne did not say when would be an appropriate time to introduce the peat sales ban, but said suitable alternatives for rural communities must first be created and the “details” worked out first.

Minister Ryan has since refined his comments, saying there will be 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.

Meanwhile, the Green Party’s Neasa Hourigan said it had known for 30 years that air pollution from burning fossil fuels caused health problems and lashed out at Fine Gael for doing “nothing” about it.

“Fine Gael hasn’t done anything about it, so to say it’s premature is probably a little but a lot,” she said.

“For a party that has been in government for 10 years and now says it’s premature is just not acceptable.

“We need to see targeted action for lower income households over the next few months, that’s the way to deal with fossil fuel removal to not continue to poison people and their children by burning peat.”

“It’s one thing for rural communities to speak up and say that, but for Fine Gael politicians who have refused to say it for 10 years, it’s unacceptable,” she told reporters at Leinster House.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/green-partys-neasa-hourigan-attacks-government-for-doing-nothing-for-ten-years-to-tackle-air-pollution-as-turf-ban-row-continues-41589139.html The Green Party’s Neasa Hourigan is attacking the government for doing “nothing” to tackle air pollution for ten years as the turf ban row rages on

Fry Electronics Team

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