Bill aims to put an end to reliance on imported peat

A new Bill aimed at ending Irish horticultural growers’ reliance on expensive imported peat has been introduced in the Seanad.

The Horticultural Peat (Temporary Measures) Bill 2021, which was introduced before the Seanad yesterday (Tuesday) will allow for the temporary extraction of Irish peat as part of a Just Transition, for horticultural purposes. The peat which will be extracted will mitigate any interruption in supply make up for any interruption of supply.

Longford/Westmeath Senator Micheál Carrigy, who introduced the Bill, said, “Irish growers produce some of the highest quality food and plants in the world, but as a result of one foolish legal action to ban growers extracting Irish peat, they’re now in the midst of an industry crisis. This has to change.

“Because of this ban, producers have no option but to import peat from places such as Latvia. We have acres of peatland right here, with only 0.12% of total Irish peatland required for the purposes of horticulture.

“As it stands, there are no alternatives to peat that are available, affordable and sustainable.

“Importing peat has extremely high monetary and environmental costs. The price paid by growers for foreign peat is much more expensive than what they would pay for Irish peat, while importing peat has five times the environmental impact of extracting it ourselves.

“Time is of the essence here; every fortnight that we don’t have a solution to this issue another 3,600 tonnes of imported peat arrives onto our shores.

“We speak about ensuring a ‘Just Transition’ for all those in our agricultural sectors. This is a prime example of where we need to step up and find common sense and reasonable solutions for workers in this area.

We have worked with Growing Media Ireland (GMI) and the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) on this piece of legislation and I am delighted to have their support for the Bill.

“I hope that this Bill will provide our growers with the clarity and comfort that they need to continue producing our fine fresh Irish food,” Senator Carrigy concluded.