An independent TD has angrily reacted to reports that the Government intends to open a public consultation on a nationwide ban on the burning of all smoky fuels.
Speaking in Dáil Éireann earlier this week, Danny Healy-Rae, said: “Because of political pressure from Fianna Fáil, the Green Party and others regarding the smoky coal ban, you [the Taoiseach] was considering a nationwide ban on the burning of turf and timber.”
“I am asking you not to stop the burning of turf or timber. Many people in rural Ireland, including Kerry indeed, are very glad and proud to come home to a fire of turf or timber on a cold, wet evening.”
“Elderly people and children work hard all summer to save turf and to store timber,” Healy-Rae added.
He said that there are a “lot of other things” to be sorted out before the Government should even consider a ban on burning turf or timber.
“They are entitled to cut turf and timber and they have done it for generations.” the independent TD stressed.
In response, An Taoiseach, said: “I am happy to assure the House that neither I nor the Government are proposing that people be banned from burning turf or wood in their own private homes.”
“However, a ban on burning turf and probably a ban on the burning of wood in people's private homes would be probably a natural extension of the policy that is being proposed by the leader of Fianna Fáil.”
“It is part of its growing anti-rural agenda. It opposed the massive broadband plan; it wants to re-profile the roads projects and now it wants to ban the burning of turf. This is an anti-rural party.”
In response, Fianna Fáil’s Barry Cowen said: “The anti-rural party? He would not find his way to a bog.”
“So, there is no consultation and no ban on coal.” Cowen added.