Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said that over the Easter break, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan "rode a merry-go-round of contradictions" in relation to the proposed ban on turf.

She said that ban is a "punishment" for people who have no alternative way to heat their home.

“Minister Ryan said the ban was going ahead, the Tánaiste then said the ban was being paused, the Minister responded then by saying the ban isn’t being paused. The Government didn’t seem to know if it was coming or going," she said in the Dáil on Tuesday.

Deputy McDonald added that the proposal is unfair, unworkable and should not go ahead.


“The timing of the proposed ban couldn’t be worse, as people are hammered by the cost of living prices.

“For many families in rural Ireland, turf is their one affordable way of heating their homes.

“Their only credible alternative is home heating oil, the price of which has doubled in the last year, and yet your Government has sat on its hands on this score," she said, addressing an Taoiseach Micheál Martin.

"Nothing has been done to reduce these extortionate prices. In, fact your action will drive these costs higher."

Traditional practices

In response to the Sinn Féin leader’s comments, an Taoiseach said that traditional practices in Ireland will continue.

"The big industry here is the coal industry and that's the big villain of the piece here. Smokey coal is the target, not turf.

"You didn't mention air quality once. It's about time that people have a balanced debate on this," an Taoiseach said.

He added that the rights of people in rural Ireland will be respected.

"In terms of turbary rights, people utilising turf in their own bogs and traditional practices in turf sharing - they're not being banned at all," he said.

He added that anything that's being proposed will have no impact this winter.

"It will not impact this winter in any shape or form, because it's not being stopped right now.

"It has been made crystal clear that people who have bogs, who normally cut turf, will continue to be able to do that," he said.