This means more costly fuels due to ‘low-smoke zones’ designated for the entire country. In effect, this translates into every household being forced to purchase more expensive solid fuels that meet the extreme standards of the Green Party, according to the Rural Independent Group.
Criticising the government’s deliberate attack on open fires in Irish homes, the Leader of the Rural Independent Group, Deputy Mc Grath, stated:
“The government’s ongoing assault on the rural way of life, simply to keep the Greens on side and cling to power, is having a profound impact on all rural communities.”
“Minister Eamon Ryan has been given the power to sign regulations into law by September that will see all traditional coal and other fuel products nationwide – including solid fuel and peat briquettes – banned. Instead, only products that emit less than ten grams of smoke per hour when burned can be bought. This is ludicrous and will only elevate the costs associated with all such products.”
“However, it gets even worse. By 2025, these same fuel alternatives will only be allowed to remain on the market if manufacturers can reduce the smoke emitted per hour to five grams, while sulphur content must be halved. This heightens all fuel costs.”
“These new regulations will also affect other solid fuels, such as wood sold for heating, as it will require a moisture content of 25% or less; turf is also being targeted.”
“Under this administration, this crazed offensive – on rural fires and stoves – will eventually lead to an outright ban on the burning of turf. We know this because the Green Party policy is to ban turf from being cut and/or used to heat homes, together with an outright stoppage on all open fires and woodburning stoves.”
“An open fire is one of the enduring symbols of comfort in Ireland. Yet, this government is willing to eradicate this traditional way of heating homes in a fevered attempt to maintain power. Despite the government’s spin, we know that this move is deeply disingenuous and completely self-serving. It suits the Green Party’s urban elite electoral base, meanwhile it cripples rural households.”
“Many counties have a long and proud tradition of cutting turf. Turf continues to be a main source of home heating for many counties, including Offaly, where 38 per cent of households still use turf to heat homes, compared to urban centres like Dublin where less than 1 per cent use turf for home heating.”
“In Tipperary alone, around 4,000 households use turf for heating purposes, which crystallises how such homes are under attack by this government.”
“I can categorically state that my colleagues and I, of the Rural Independent Group, are outrightly opposed to any ban on burning turf, open fires or stoves, or increasing household solid fuel costs.”
“With the way this government is acting, we are approaching a time when inspectors will be calling to Irish homes to check, fine and punish people who are using sods of turf to heat their ranges or stoves. This government is siding against rural communities, but we will challenge their power-hungry nonsense at every opportunity on the Dail floor,” concluded Deputy Mc Grath.