Concerns are emerging around the possible use of Just Transition funding to import peat, according to independent TD for Laois-Offaly, Deputy Carol Nolan.

Deputy Nolan seeks immediate clarification around concerns that funding allocated to the Just Transition process is being used to subsidise the importation of peat and peat moss.

She wrote to the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan and the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, on the matter. The independent TD for Laois-Offaly said:

“If it is confirmed that Just Transition funding is being used to import peat then the entire process will be shown to have descended to the level of farce and insult.”

The issue had been brought to the attention of deputy Nolan by a number of people in local communities who were alarmed by the possible use of Just Transition funding to import peat.

The EU’s Just Transition Fund aims to “finance projects that will alleviate the socio-economic costs for communities that are heavily dependent on fossil fuels or greenhouse gas-intensive industries”, according to the EU council.

The independent TD said communities in Offaly, Laois and across the midlands struggle to access matching funding for their own transition-related projects.

Deputy Nolan previously called for a “proportionate” share of the fund, which was allocated to Ireland, to go towards her constituency which, she said, has taken the greatest hit from climate-change-mitigation policies.

An immediate revision of the inability of traders within the Irish market to access indigenous peat products is needed, according to Deputy Nolan.

“I will be pursuing this matter until we have clarity on what exactly is going on, and until we can finally bring a dose of common sense to a process that is lurching from one incomprehensible absurdity to the next,” the independent TD for Laois-Offaly added.