A Donegal County Councillor has called on government TDs to explain their reasons for voting against a turf ban motion in the Dáil last night.
The Sinn Féin motion sought to scrap plans to ban the commercial sale of turf. It would also temporarily eliminate excise duty on home heating oil. The motion was eventually defeated by 72 votes to 64.
A second motion put forward by the Rural Independent Group to remove carbon tax was also defeated by 77 votes to 58.
An Taoiseach Micheál Martin said no proposals will affect traditional turf practices or the sharing of turf in rural Ireland. “There is no ban on the use of turf in rural Ireland and there will be no ban for the remainder of the year,” he said.
Donegal Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty branded the result as “shameful”, saying: “Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Green TDs have just voted against a Sinn Féin amendment that would reduce the cost of Home Heating Oil by €118 per fill. Instead these same TDs have just now voted to increase it from this Sunday.”
Doherty added: “Disgracefully, the Government voted down this amendment.
“Instead, they will increase the cost of home heating oil from Sunday with a further carbon tax hike.
“It is disappointing that my colleague Pádraig Mac Lochlainn and I were the only Donegal TDs to support this amendment.
“The people of Donegal deserve so much better.”
Independent Cllr Michael Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig said: “I would ask all government TDs and anyone that supported the legislation to come out today and publically tell the people why they voted the way that they did, and not to hide behind the government.”
The West Donegal Cllr said: “As a turf cutter myself, we need to look at how the sale is done, the majority who do sell it are traditional turf cutters, and people who for physical and ill-health reasons are not cutting themselves any more. The stopping of sales will impact a lot of families who only use turf.
“Is the state going to compensate those that invested heavily in buying the right machinery to cut turf?
“A lot of families that do sell turf depend on the turf to pay off mortgages, put children through school and put food on the table.
“We are a socially and economically deprived community, the vast majority of communities that cut turf are deprived because of this very government’s policy.
“What the government has just done is taken a hammer to open a peanut.”