Turf "dying out as a basic fuel", says Taoiseach
Micheál Martin has vowed to find a "pragmatic" solution to the current debate on turf.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin has pointed to smoky coal as "the real enemy" with regards to the ongoing controversy over a proposed ban on the sale of commercial turf in Ireland.
Referring to a time in the 1990s when Dublin was visibly characterised by pollution, the Taoiseach said that smoky coal has left a long-lasting impact on Irish society.
Speaking to RTÉ News on Tuesday morning (26 April), Martin said that legislation to ban smoky coal had "a dramatic and transformative impact on the quality of the air that we breathe", adding that the measure ultimately saved many lives.
The Taoiseach said that smoky coal is "the villain" and expressed his belief that "turf is dying out as a basic fuel" before vowing to come up with a "pragmatic" solution to the current situation.
Martin also underlined that any incoming ban will only have a resultant effect on the winter of 2023, as opposed to this year.
In conversation on Newstalk on Monday, Independent TD Michael Healy-Rae blasted Green Party leader Eamon Ryan, arguing that the minister and his party are actively causing more problems for the environment in Ireland than solving them.
Healy-Rae said that Ryan was "upsetting the whole country" by announcing the turf ban without first implementing a proper consultation process at Government level, and that this was "obviously a very foolish thing to do" that led to a natural backlash.
"It goes along the lines of the introduction of wolves into Ireland, the planting of lettuce on our south-facing windowsills, shorter showers, not washing ourselves as much, slowing down in our motorcars – these type of suggestions, they actually discredit the Green Party," Healy-Rae added.
Put to him that advice and measures such as lowering speed limits and turning down the heating are endorsed across Europe – "it's not Eamon Ryan being dotty or daft," noted Pat Kenny – Healy-Rae responded:
"I never used the word 'dotty' or 'daft' or I wouldn't, but I might use the word 'not in touch with reality' and I might use the word 'far-removed from the electorate that he is supposed to represent'."
Taking issue with Minister Ryan's proposal that small rural communities of under 500 people will be exempt from the ban, Minister Healy-Rae added:
"When you hear of these sort of suggestions, it shows that he is so far removed from reality it's not even funny," he said.
Featured Image via Sam Boal /