Horticultural growers, led by IFA President Tim Cullinan, held a protest outside the Convention Centre in Dublin today to highlight the challenges around the harvesting of horticultural peat and the central role it plays in the sector.
They were joined by Deputy Michael Lowry who gave his full support to their call to allow the harvesting of peat “Without immediate Government intervention to allow the harvesting of peat, the Irish horticultural sector faces wipe out. The Ministers in charge here have to step in save the sector. The situation is now beyond serious,” said Tim Cullinan. Growers built a 50sq metre display with their produce outside the Convention Centre where the Dáil was sitting, to depict the message ‘No Peat, No Produce’ to remind Government that the horticultural sector cannot supply Irish produce for consumers without peat.
Following a ruling of the High Court in September 2019, harvesting of peat from bogs greater than 30 hectares now requires all harvesters to go through a complex licensing and planning regime. Horticultural peat harvesting on Irish bogs has all but ceased and Irish peat supplies will be exhausted before September. As it currently stands Ireland will be forced to import peat from Europe and the Baltics, which is at odds with the Green credentials of the horticultural sector
The area of peatland required to supply the Irish horticultural industry is just over 1/10 th of 1% (.12%) of Ireland’s total area of peatlands. To further compound the issue, there is a shortage of peat on the European market and growers are having their orders refused.