Bord na Móna cessation of peat harvesting ‘devastating’ for horticulture – Nolan

Independent TD Carol Nolan has said the announcement by Bord na Móna that it will permanently cease all peat harvesting and production will be devastating for the horticulture sector.

Deputy Nolan was speaking after the chief executive Tom Donnellan confirmed last week that the move marked the formal end to the company’s association with peat harvesting, as it moves on “to tackle the critical challenges concerning climate change, energy supply, biodiversity and the circular economy”.

Deputy Carol Nolan Image source: Facebook

The Laois-Offaly TD said the decision is going to create a “real sense of dread for many thousands of workers especially those within the wider horticulture-based economy”.

Temporary suspension

Deputy Nolan said: “Last June the company clearly assured workers that it was suspending all peat harvesting for the 2020 season only and that it was also pursuing legal challenges to the planning issues being raised by environmental groups.

It appears that the company has totally caved into the green-led demands with an even further escalation of the entire, so called just transition process.

“I am genuinely alarmed at this move and so too is the Just Transition Commissioner who can clearly see the risk this is going to create for thousands of jobs within our own indigenous horticulture sector,” the deputy added.

Minister for the Environment

The independent TD says she has raised the issue on numerous occasions with Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan.

“Why should Irish horticulturists now have to rely on imported product for survival? It makes no sense from either an economic or environmental point of view,” she said.

And what about all those peat contractors who invested in new machinery prior to the announcement in June?

“Minister Eamon Ryan confirmed to me in his reply to my Parliamentary Question that he and this government are going to do nothing in terms of assisting with compensation.

“There has to be a better way of doing things. It is profoundly unfair and a decision that yet again, undermines any sense that the transition process is going to deliver for workers and families,” concluded deputy Nolan.