Horticultural growers, led by IFA President Tim Cullinan, were protesting outside Leinster House in Dublin on Wednesday, October 13. The protest highlighted the ongoing challenges around harvesting horticultural peat and its central role in the sector.
The matter will be raised in the Senate on October 14, where Senators will question the logic of importing peat when it could be sourced locally.
“We held a protest on this issue last July, but since then, this Government has done nothing to resolve this disastrous situation. The Ministers in charge have abandoned horticulture growers,” said Tim Cullinan.
“We fully appreciate the environmental importance of peatlands and the need to look at alternative substrates for use in the horticulture sector. However, there is currently no viable alternative to peat for the majority of operators in the commercial horticulture sector,” he said.
Last month, some 3,600 tonnes of horticultural peat arrived from Latvia into Drogheda Port, despite a Government announcement after IFA’s peat protest in July that a ‘stockpile’ of peat had been secured for the sector. This will be the first of many shipments.
“It seems to us that what Minister Hackett is most interested in is “window-dressing” for Green Party voters. It appears that creating an unanticipated environmental issue elsewhere is not important, as long as peat harvesting is no longer taking place in Ireland. The importation of peat will increase the environmental footprint of Irish growers while placing them at a severe competitive disadvantage,” said Paul Brophy, IFA National Horticulture Chairman.
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