Sinn Féin will bring forward a motion to the Dáil next week to block an upcoming ban on turf sales.
The ban, first announced by Minister Eamon Ryan two weeks ago, could come into effect from this September, although Minister Ryan has previously told the Irish Farmers Journal it awaits full cabinet discussion and his Government colleague and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar has suggested it will be postponed.
A spokesperson for Minister Ryan declined to provide comment on the minister’s latest position on the turf sale ban this week.
The Sinn Féin motion will be debated by TDs in the Dáil on Tuesday 26 April.
Impact on rural communities
Sinn Féin TDs claim any ban on selling turf would hit rural communities with no other heating options.
As part of the proposed Dáil motion, Sinn Féin is calling for Government to scrap plans to ban the sale of turf from September 2022, cancel the carbon tax increase due to commence on 1 May and temporarily remove excise on home heating oil.
There is a cost-of-living crisis across the country
Announcing the plans for the motion on Friday, Sinn Féin spokesperson on social protection and rural development Claire Kerrane TD said: "There is a cost-of-living crisis across the country, as energy bills have sky-rocketed and put real pressure on people's pockets. Turf has been one of the only forms of heating not to see prices spiral in recent months.
“The Government’s proposed plan punishes communities who rely on turf, instead of introducing measures to support communities in transitioning away from this form of heating in a way that is fair and sustainable.”
The Galway TD warned that the “ban on the sale of turf is unfair, unworkable and must not go ahead” and called on all TDs to back the Sinn Féin motion next week.
‘Workable solutions’ needed
Also critical of Government’s plans for turf selling, Sinn Féin spokesperson on agriculture Matt Carthy TD said “the turf ban is the wrong measure at the wrong time” and called for “workable solutions that can bring communities along, not alienate and punish people”.
He said: "The timing and introduction of this turf ban could not be worse, considering the extent of the cost of living, fuel and energy crisis.
"Some Government TDs have created confusion on this issue by giving mixed messages on whether this ban will go ahead as planned in September.”
He warned that “Government cannot talk out of both sides of its mouth on this” and called for “clarity” for rural communities, something he suggested his party’s motion will do.