Brendan Smith: Peat supplies for horticulture sector must be resolved

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan and Monaghan Brendan Smith has renewed his call on the Minister of State for Heritage and the Minister for Agriculture to address, as a matter of urgency, issues affecting the harvesting and supply of peat for the horticulture sector.

Deputy Brendan Smith commented, “It is long past time that measures should have been implemented to ensure that the horticulture and mushroom sectors have adequate stocks of peat.  At present there is no viable alternative to peat for the commercial horticulture sector.  A major part of the Irish horticulture industry depends on peat and peat availability is now a major challenge.

“The Minister of State for Heritage, in reply to my Dáil Question, states that a draft interim report has been prepared by a working group which he established sometime ago to examine the current issues and the group continues its deliberations.” 

The Cavan and Monaghan TD continued: “Minister Noonan must insist that the final Report of the group is complete by the 20th October and follow up action dealing with issues in a practical manner must happen without further delay.

“In Dáil Éireann the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine informed me that his Department is actively looking at alternatives to peat and has funded two research projects to date.  He states that he continues to engage directly with the sector including a recent meeting with the Mushroom Industry.

Producers in the mushroom sector, which is a very substantial enterprise in the Cavan/Monaghan area, face serious challenges for their businesses and relying on the importation of peat will bring additional heavy costs and cause difficulties for the sector,” added Brendan Smith.

ENDS – 18th October 2021

Note to Editors

See Parliamentary Questions attached