I have described the response by Government to the horticultural sector crisis as dismal as they publish a Working Paper to address the challenges in relation to the supply of peat for the professional horticultural industry in Ireland.

“The response is a slight to all those who took part in the Peat Working Group and ignores the recommendations of the working group. It is unbelievable lack of real response or action by Government to the Peat working group report”.

“The working paper does not address the need to have transition arrangements in place in the short term. The Government working paper is full of words and aspirations but no solutions resulting in Ireland being forced to import peat at a huge cost to the industry and the environment”.

“The long overdue report from the Peat Working Group was finally published earlier today by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage but the recommendations have been completely ignored”.

“In the Government’s series of actions or inactions there is no reference to the transition to alternatives by 2035 as recommended in the working group report.”

“The Government has completely ignored the transition period required from peat to alternatives, including a single consent model which deals with the critical issue of planning and harvesting of peat for horticulture. The existing legal framework is unworkable and will not deliver horticultural peat in the short to medium term for Irish growers and producers.”

“The hobby market is being completely ignored by the Government despite the negative impact this will have, and it will lead to significant imports from the Baltic countries to meet the demand for this market in Ireland.”

“The Government noted that 2,000 tonnes would be made available by Bord na Mona for horticulture, however this equates to just two weeks of required stock for the mushroom sector. At least 40,000 tonnes of horticultural peat imported into the island of Ireland since September.”

“The 17,000 jobs in horticultural sector remain at risk with no alternative in the Government plan except large-scale imports. I am calling on the working group recommendations to be adopted by the Government to help the horticultural sector which is already on its knees. The industry needs a clear action plan, with definite timelines, outlining how the recommendations in the report will be implemented”.

“To refuse to allow peat harvesting for Irish horticulture for the 2022 growing season, the Government are planning the demise of the sector with small growers shutting their doors.