Tipperary TD Jackie Cahill says it’s “inexcusable” that importation of peat would be seen as part of the solution to meet demand from the horticulture sector.
Speaking as Chair of the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee, the Fianna Fáil deputy took issue with comments from Department of the Environment official Philip Nugent, when the topic was discussed this week.
Many local horticulture, mushroom and nursery businesses are having to source peat abroad, due to a ban on harvesting here.
Deputy Cahill was left frustrated by comments made by the Department official on the matter:
“Is that what you’re saying to us, that importation of peat into this country is part of the solution to this crisis? Is that what you’re saying?”
Mr Nugent replied, “That’s what I said earlier, and I’m happy to confirm that. Import is already taking place, and import is likely to be part of the….”
Deputy Cahill interjected, “Just because it’s taking place Mr Nugent doesn’t make it right. I thought I misheard you earlier and I didn’t want to interrupt you. But to concede that importation is part of the solution is absolutely inexcusable from a Department official.”
Deputy Cahill has since written to the Taoiseach highlighting his pressing concerns for the future of the horticulture, mushroom growing and nursery industries in Ireland.