Browne launches a broadside at the department over peat questions

Environmental group's High Court move could have affect peat harvesting in Kildare

Peat is crucial for the mushroom industry which is a vital employer in west Tipperary

The rewetting of bogs, the management of peatlands and the impact on drainage for surrounding areas was on the agriculture  committee’s agenda

Tipperary Sinn Féin TD Martin Browne has accused the Department of Heritage and Local Government of attempting to dodge discussion of the future of the horticulture sector at the latest sitting of the Agriculture Committee.


“The rewetting of bogs, the management of peatlands and the impact on drainage for surrounding areas was on the committee’s agenda, with officials from the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage invited to attend.


“Ahead of the meeting, committee members were also issued with an updated statement from the same Department regarding the supply of horticultural peat.


“However, when I asked a number of questions about the progress being made by the working group, my concerns at the environmental credibility of some of the department’s preferred alternatives to horticultural peat, among others, I was stunned to be told that my questions and those of my colleagues could not be answered because the Department had not sent anyone qualified to comment on this matter.


“This is a shocking example of the Department’s evasiveness when it comes to its stance on banning the harvesting of horticultural peat and its enthusiasm to import it all instead.


“Among the fundamental traits of committees is openness, transparency and clarity.


“The Department failed to honour this, and instead sought to avoid the issue that is to the forefront of our horticulture and mushroom sectors,” he said.

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