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24/09/2021

Tipperary TD says mushroom growers are being kept in the dark on peat ban

Tipperary TD says mushroom growers are being kept in the dark on peat ban

Dputy Martin Browne: ‘Our mushroom industry should not to rely on uncertainty’

Tipperary Sinn Féin TD Martin Browne has expressed his concern at the lack of ambition shown by Department officials to address the impending crisis in the horticulture sector, when they met them at the Oireachtas Agricultural Committee last week.

“The seeming lack of ambition to resolve the emerging peat shortage crisis encapsulated how the horticultural sector is losing out from the collective Departments’ failure to come together for the benefit of the industry and the environment,” he said.

The Cashel TD said that the Departments had been speaking of “buying time to develop alternatives”, but what the Departments seemed to forget was that it was the sector that needed the time to make this transition in a way that was viable for their industry.

“What the Departments need to is to become realistic to the fact that there is a lack of alternatives to make the transition immediately, that the mushroom and nursery industries are professionals who know their trade and what it takes to ensure they can remain sustainable,” he said.

Instead of a commitment to a realistic transitional plan, he said that they were given vague suggestions of “supplemental measures” which indicate short term and inadequate gestures.

Deputy Browne said that no indication was given that the options submitted by sector organisations were being taken seriously.

“Our mushroom sector, upon which so many jobs and communities depend, should not have to rely on this kind of uncertainty and indifference; neither should our nurseries and associated businesses,” he said.

That as the officials were reluctant to initiate the changes needed, the Ministers themselves must now answer to the 17,000 workers in the horticultural industry and tell them if their jobs mattered or not, he said.

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