Thursday, April 28, 2022

The Government has survived a Dáil vote to scrap an upcoming ban on the commercial sale of turf.

On Wednesday night, the Dáil voted on a Sinn Féin motion seeking to cancel the carbon tax increase and scrap Government plans to restrict the sale of turf later this year.

The Government successfully saw off the motion opposing the planned curtailment of turf sales by 72 votes to 63.

“You have indicated, Taoiseach, that it is your intention to vote against this motion, and you will do this despite the frustration felt right across rural communities,” Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald told the Dail before the vote.

“You will do it also despite the fact that you couldn’t even convince your own backbenchers of the merits of this plan.

“You will do it despite the fact that people in rural Ireland, particularly older people, people on lower incomes with no alternative will struggle and struggle badly.

“This is the wrong move at the wrong time, it is unfair, it alienates communities and would be unworkable.”

‘A set-up’

Rural TDs in Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael voted with the Government, despite voicing their anger at the turf ban in recent days.

Assuring his parliamentary party before the vote, the Taoiseach said no proposals will affect traditional turf practices or the sharing of turf in rural Ireland.

Speaking to Newstalk, Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice said he’s disappointed at the actions of rural Government TDs.

“Over the fortnight, in most radio stations around the country, we’ve heard these same TDs telling, basically the public and their constituency, that it was scandalous what was being proposed, that they wouldn’t stand for it, it could split a Government,” Mr Fitzmaurice said.

“But the funny thing, when they went to the Dáil their finger seems to go a different way.”

However, Fianna Fáil Senator Eugene Murphy said last night’s Sinn Féin motion was a set-up.

“You have to realise that over the past 36 hours there has been those meetings with Eamon Ryan,” Mr Murphy explained.

“There has been clarification on certain issues.

“The Dáil vote was basically a set-up to embarrass the Government. There was nothing concrete in it.

“I think from a Fianna Fáil perspective, and I’m sure from Fine Gael as well, that we will be as well, that we will now be engaging with the Minister in terms of the legislation and ensuring what we want in there, that will be looked after.”

-Additional reporting by PA

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