The Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food, and the Marine has heard that shiploads of peat are still being imported into the country to supply growers of mushrooms, vegetables, flowers, and trees, at huge cost to the environment and consumers.

The committee also heard much criticism of the Government for failing to license limited peat extraction for the horticulture industry. Since a 2019 High Court ruling, peat harvesting on bogs greater than 30 hectares has stopped, and growers have been depending on dwindling supplies.

Efforts to develop non-peat growing media have not yielded results that could replace peat in terms of quality, quantity, or costs, according to John Neenan, Chairperson of Growing Media Ireland, which represents the majority of horticultural peat and growing media producers in the country.

"When we were last in front of the committee, we warned that if action was not taken, Ireland would be reliant on imported peat of inferior quality, uncertain supply, and negative environmental consequences," he said.

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