Delay in the long-awaited report on alternatives to peat “very worrying”
THE LAST MINUTE delay in a much anticipated report on peat alternatives in Ireland was called “very concerning”.
Sinn Féin TD Matt Carthy said he was deeply concerned that the report, initially slated for release by the end of September, was pushed back.
Members of the horticultural industry are among those waiting to hear the findings of a report from a horticultural peat task force, which was established earlier this year.
Junior Minister Malcolm Noonan, who is responsible for the issue at the Housing Department, told Carthy in a written response from Dáil this week that the report would be released by the end of September.
“I understand that the final report must be completed and sent to me by the end of September 2021. The report should identify possible alternatives to peat and describe the research needed to produce commercially effective alternatives for the horticultural sector”, Noonan said. told Sinn Féin TD.
However, a spokesperson for the Department of Housing confirmed to the PA news agency that the report had not been completed by the end of last month.
“The chairman of the working group told the minister that the final report is at an advanced stage and will be provided to him before the end of October,” the spokesperson said.
“The brief extension was granted by Minister Noonan following a request from the President, who informed him that the group needed more time to finalize the report.”
Led by Independent Chairman Dr Munoo Prasad, the task force was tasked with examining the current challenges facing the horticulture industry following Ireland’s decision to end peat production.
The decision has been questioned by the horticulture and mushroom industry, which has questioned why Ireland must now import peat.
The working group, which has held 11 meetings to date, is mainly studying alternatives to peat.
Carthy told PA: “It is of great concern that the task force report has been delayed. “
He wondered why the publication of the report had been “postponed for a month without explanation”.
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“We have seen shipments arriving in Ireland with 4,000 tonnes of peat, after traveling 3,000 kilometers at sea,” he said.
“This is clearly environmental and economic folly and therefore urgent government action is needed to resolve it.”
He also asks why two different dates for the publication of the report were provided in a few days.
“It seems there is no sense of urgency,” he said.
“I have great concerns for the mushroom industry because there is no realistic alternative at the moment.”
“Without this, only two things can happen. Either the peat will be imported, or the mushroom sector will be exported.