Minister for Environment Eamon Ryan is under pressure to relax a proposed ban on turf selling and gifting, due to come into force in September
A common-sense approach is needed regarding the issue of turf cutting, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has said.
The Donegal TD said turf was still an important fuel for those who used it.
His comments come with Minister for Environment Eamon Ryan under pressure to relax a proposed ban on turf selling and gifting, due to come into force in September.
Speaking to the Inish Times, Mr McConalogue said: “I think we have to take a common sense approach to how we address this issue. I am speaking as somebody who spent many, many summers in the hill cutting and footing turf, and what backbreaking work it was. We have seen it drop significantly in recent years.
"But it is really important fuel in many parts of the country still; obviously against the backdrop as well at the moment of high fuel prices.
"I have no doubt, in the years ahead we will see less turf cut, that has been the trend over recent years. But, it is important that we respect the traditional rights and activity, and importance of turf to those communities that still use it, particularly in parts of rural Ireland".
"It's important we keep this in context: turf is only used in a very minimal amount of instances now. But it is important for those who still use it and I think we need to focus on the bigger picture, we need to focus on making real progress. We need to focus on that transition from fossil fuel to clean energy.”
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