“This week, I met with horticultural growers – including Frank Alley of Dundrum nurseries – who demonstrated in Dublin today as stocks of horticultural peat dwindle.
“Horticultural peat accounts for a minuscule amount of peat traditionally harvested.
“Yet the sector is facing a crisis since the harvesting of horticultural peat fell victim to the ban on the intensive peat harvesting.
“Our horticultural sector, which includes nurseries like Dundrum Nurseries, and our mushroom sector have been left to deal with the consequences of the ban, even though horticultural peat only accounts for a miniscule amount of the peat traditionally harvested.
“The sector predicts supplies of peat reserves could dry up as early as September, yet the alternatives available right now are unsuitable and require importing from abroad, thus resulting in an increased carbon footprint for the sector.
“Three government departments have responsibility for this issue (Heritage, Environment, Agriculture), yet all of them are looking on while taking no action. No plans have been put in place to deal with the shortage of horticultural peat, and Just Transition in its current form is of little use to them.
“The sector has been abandoned and only lip service is being given to their concerns by the three Departments. Thousands of jobs are at risk.
“I was glad to offer my support to Frank Alley of Dundrum Nurseries and all of those who are fighting for the survival of their businesses. I will continue to make the case for their sector in every forum I can.”