Minister of State for Land Use and Biodiversity at the Department of Agriculture Pippa Hackett has refused to comment on Bord na Móna’s importation of thousands of tonnes of woodchip from Brazil to power its Edenderry plant in Co Offaly.

When asked by the Irish Farmers Journal at the Biofarm conference in Adare on Tuesday for her take on the imports, the minister said it was “not appropriate” for her to comment.

“Ministers don’t interfere with semi states. They are enshrined in legislation and it’s a matter for Bord na Móna if they’ve made that decision to do it. I assume it’s a commercial reason they do that,” she said.

However, she did say that Bord na Móna uses homegrown biomass and added that she would like to see them using more of it in the future.