Heat from TDs as Eamon Ryan states turf ‘ban’ will go ahead
25th April 2022
Green Party Environment Minister Eamon Ryan is facing a confrontation with a mix of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael backbenchers, Sinn Féin and Independents over his proposed ‘ban’ on the sale of turf.
However, he is still planning to impose a controversial ban on the sale of turf in small villages, he revealed on Sunday.
The minister made the admission during a radio debate with Sinn Féin’s Matt Carthy on Newstalk radio. The revelation will increase concerns among Coalition TDs that the Government is facing into a summer of discontent over the growing divide between an increasingly ‘posh’ elite of ministers and mandarins and ‘ordinary’ people.
This sense has accelerated via the increasingly unclear position of the Green Party about the ban on turf sales.
Mr Ryan has spent a week trying to engineer a U-turn from the furore brought about by his plans to ban the commercial sale of turf.
He is now facing a ‘showdown’ meeting with senior FF backbencher Barry Cowen, who has previously been sharply critical of Mr Ryan’s Just Transition.
One FF source said: ‘We need clarification. We need to see the colour of his money. Most of the time we don’t know what he is talking about and half the time we suspect he doesn’t know what he’s talking about too.’
Independent TD and turfcutter Michael Fitzmaurice said: ‘We need real clarification on what is going on. Rural people deserve more than the current mix of bits of statements and half-leaks.’
The unease is unlikely to be dispelled by Mr Ryan’s response to the claim by Mr Carthy that ‘this Government has equated climate action with punitive measures against people who don’t have any alternatives’.
Mr Carthy added: ‘They are utterly out of touch with the real challenges for workers and families.’
Mr Ryan claimed it was not a complete ban, mentioning ‘those who are sharing or gifting to a neighbour or outside of villages and towns where it is not part of the retail system.’ The minister reiterated his position, saying: ‘The regulations will be about the retail large commercial distribution, and it won’t be about small family and friends and local rural communities, which are a very different situation to villages and towns.’
One Coalition source analysing the minister’s language said: ‘If it is yellow, has feathers and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck. This proposal looks like a ban, and if it’s a ban, it is a dead duck.’