There is now a public consultation process on the development of new Solid Fuel Regulations. The survey is available online through gov.ie or an email can be sent to the address at the end of the article here.
Cllr. Fionnán Fitzgerald is encouraging everyone to have their say and express their own views on the matter:
“I raised a motion at the January meeting of Kerry County Council calling for people to be allowed to continue the tradition of cutting turf or timber for fuel,” said Cllr. Fitzgerald.
Elderly Dependent on Turf
“I know of many people, especially elderly, who depend on turf and timber to provide heat during the winter months and of people who make a living out of providing turf and timber to them.
“I stand up for my own people and for their rights which I believe deeply in myself.
“The banning of smoky coal or wet timber I do not have a problem with. But an outright ban on the use and selling of turf I do not agree with,” said Cllr. Fitzgerald.
Mass Meetings in Listowel
Mass meetings and weekly protests rumbled on in Listowel over a protracted period from January 2012 the last time a turf cutting ban reared its head in Kerry.
Then the weekly protests became mass meetings around the Saturday morning, Listowel based clinics of local TD Jimmy Deenihan, then Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
Mr. Deenihan certainly took the heat for the ban on turf cutting on Moanvenlagh Bog in the heart of his constituency, in particular and he was burned at the February 2016 general election for his party stance on the tetchy topic.
Healy Rae, Ming and Fitz
Michael Healy Rae, TD took an active part in that protest and got his Independent colleagues Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan and Michael Fitzmaurice the former west of Ireland councillor, chairman of the Turf Cutters and Contractors Association and later TD.
The protest were still rumbling away in 2018 when Deputy Healy Rae introduced the turf-cutters to then Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan in an effort to close the dampers.
Where are we Now ?
We are now in the most incredible position of having to import moss peat / peat moss.
While we’re still mourning the demise of the ‘Briquette’ we hear we’re going to be importing them too.
That is surely a Holy God moment in a year when people are struggling to hold onto their sanity. There are still men who sharpen their hay knives, spades and two-pronged pikes and get ready for the trip to ‘the mountain’ and the ritual stripping of bog around Good Friday.
A Deep Vein of Feeling
Cllr. Fionnán Fitzgerald is divining a very deep vein of feeling with this consultation process and it will be interesting to see what comes out of it.
It’s something that could well force people back onto the streets just like the infamous water charge protests did back in 2015.
How to Take the Survey
Take the Survey, have your say with a click on the link here: https://secure.dccae.gov.ie/forms/Survey-on-the-use-of-solid-fuel-in-Ireland.aspx
You can send an email to the following address: SolidFuels@decc.gov.ie
Or by post to: Public Consultation on Solid Fuels Air Quality Division, Dept of the Environment, Climate and Communications, Newtown Road, Wexford, Y35 AP90.
Submissions close on 2nd April.
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