IFA President Tim Cullinan has welcomed the Bill to recommence the harvesting of horticultural peat, which was published in the Seanad today.
The Bill seeks to introduce a single step system for the licensing of horticultural peat harvesting. It will be instrumental in helping ease the pressure on the horticulture industry.
He acknowledged the efforts of Senator Regina Doherty and Senator Robbie Gallagher in bringing it forward.
IFA Hardy Nursery Chairman Val Farrell said as it stands, the future of the horticulture sector is in jeopardy as the industry is left with no alternative but to import peat from the Baltic regions for the domestic market.
“Importing peat will have lasting consequences for the sector. Already, it has resulted in hugely increased costs. This in turn will have a real impact on the competitiveness of Ireland’s sustainable horticulture sector,” he said.
Along with the carbon footprint associated with transport, this Baltic peat can shrink at twice the rate of Irish peat, thus emitting more carbon.
The final report from the peat consultation group is still outstanding. It was received by Minister Noonan over a month ago. IFA is calling for this report to be published immediately.
“The Government must now work together to put an end to this travesty. This Bill, once enacted, will have a positive impact on the sector; help protect jobs; and put an end to the importation of peat. All political parties must support the Bill and ensure it is enacted without delay,” he said.