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We won’t be found wanting in finding a solution to the horticultural peat issue – Doherty

14th October 2021 - Regina Doherty

Minister Peter Burke today stated his support for the exemption of peat extraction from planning and said that he, or his Department, won’t be found wanting in finding a solution to the horticultural peat issue where Irish growers are relying on expensive imported peat as a growing medium for their horticultural produce, Fine Gael Senator Regina Doherty has said.

Minister Burke’s comments in the Seanad today came after the Leader of the Seanad, Senator Doherty, scheduled an important debate in the House earlier this week during which Senators voiced their concerns that the horticultural industry is facing a situation whereby thousands of tonnes of peat have to be imported to meet demand.

Senator Doherty said, “These growers are the cornerstones of their communities and are now facing extinction over one foolish legal action to ban the extraction of Irish peat for Irish growers who produce the highest quality Irish food and plants.

“We cannot be talking about this in 12 months’ time, because if we are then we won’t have Irish brussels sprouts or lettuce, or mushrooms on the shelves of our supermarkets because the high cost of purchasing and importing this peat from Latvia, Poland and Sri Lanka will have put these growers out of business.

“The conclusion of the debate with Minister Peter Burke in the Seanad is that we need a ‘Just Solution’ to this issue so we can allow for a ‘Just Transition’ from peat to a viable alternative. It is very much welcomed that the Minister concurs that a common sense and reasonable solution must be found for the ongoing difficulties in the harvesting of peat for our domestic growers.

“Minister Burke requested Senators to aid his Department in resolving this important issue. Of course, we will continue to meet with and express the concerns of growers and help bring this problem to an end.

“However, a solution will not be reached until the three Departments concerned come together, and the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications in particular must come up with the policy to replace the current planning process. We need a just solution which will lead to a just transition for our horticultural industry,” Senator Doherty concluded.

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