Minister for Land Use and Biodiversity Pippa Hackett has had the Dáil record of the 31 March corrected following what her spokesperson described as a mistake by a transcriber.
Under questioning from Sinn Féin TD Matt Carthy, a comment from the Minister in the Dáil record had originally read: “Bord na Móna continues to export peat. Most, if not all, of that peat is extracted illegally, which is a significant concern for our climate action ambitions.”
A spokesperson for Minister Hackett later insisted the minister was not accusing Bord na Móna of doing anything illegal but that it was Matt Carthy TD who had suggested peat was continuing to be exported, and that she was clarifying that that is occurring illegally.
The Dáil record on what the Minister said has been altered to now read: “Well Bord na Móna was. But we are still continuing to export peat.
“It is fair to say that probably most of that peat, if not all of it, is being extracted illegally, which is a massive concern for our climate action ambitions.”
Question of illegality
Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal, Carthy said it is the minister’s “responsibility to resolve any question of illegality”, not his.
He said: “In my view, peat shouldn’t be exported at all. Government has been sitting on their hands when it comes to the peat crisis in the horticulture sector.”
A Bord na Móna spokesperson said: “Bord na Móna is not exporting bulk peat. It is also not extracting peat, has not done so since June 2020 and has permanently ceased all such activity on its lands.”
The Irish Farmers Journal has contacted the relevant Government departments to establish if and by whom peat is being extracted and exported and has sought its clarification on the illegalities around the matter. There had been no response as we went to print.