Fianna Fáil Senator Eugene Murphy has advised all people who use turf as a fuel to continue to cut, rear and, where necessary, sell turf.

The senator said he made this statement because of the number of people who have sought clarification on this matter. He explained:

“There is no legislation in place as of now stopping people rearing turf in most parts of our region, indeed only the draft is being prepared. People should continue as normal right now.”

When legislation comes forward later in the summer, Senator Murphy said, he is confident that those who use turf as their main fuel will be protected.

The Fianna Fáil senator, who is a member of the agricultural panel, said he is also optimistic that, at that stage, those who don’t have their own turf bank and also those who traditionally sell it to others, will be covered.

“This issue has caused some tensions in the government but I am an optimist and therefore confident that all difficulties can be overcome,” the senator said.

Proposed turf regulations

Meanwhile, Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan confirmed that the government would not be opposing a Dáil motion calling for exemptions to solid-fuel regulations.

Independent TD, Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice, who is also chair of the Turf Cutters and Contractors Association (TCCA), recently (Thursday, May 5) brought the motion before the Dáil.

Minister Ryan said he agreed with the majority of the presented motion, and commented that there is a “lot of confusion, fear and misinformation on this issue”.

He added that the government will pursue the regulation at retail level. The “commercial distribution level rather than for those who are taking turf from their own bogs or sharing with neighbours in that kind of rural tradition,” Minister Ryan explained.

The minister also acknowledged the complexity around the use of turf as a fuel in rural communities.