Teachta Browne said:
“At this week’s private meeting of the Joint Committee on Agriculture and the Marine members
were stunned to be informed that Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue, the Minister for
Heritage Malcolm Noonan and the Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan all turned down
invitations to discuss the use of peat moss in horticulture and the latest report from the Working
Group on the matter.
“Minster McConalogue turned down the request on the basis that he would not attend unless
Ministers Ryan and Noonan were also present – both of whom turned down similar invitations
because of availability issues.
“This is an unacceptable way to treat the committee and the horticultural sector. A satisfactory
resolution to the crisis facing the horticultural peat industry can only be achieved with all three
Ministers working with the Committee.
“A huge amount of anger was expressed at Tuesday’s private committee meeting at this revelation.
“The majority of Committee members considered this refusal by all three ministers as a slight on the
work of the Committee and a show of total and utter disregard for the horticultural and mushroom
“We have agreed that a formal complaint be sent to the Ceann Comhairle, and I suggested that
rather than expressing mere disappointment, our anger at the slight shown to us and the industries
concerned should be expressed.
“The Minsters had three months to make themselves available, and their refusal suggests that they
are uninterested in finding a way forward that would resolve the matter.
“Co Tipperary has a considerable number of jobs reliant on the horticultural industry, and therefore I
cannot allow this show of disregard and disrespect to go unchallenged. The workers in this sector