Stanley welcomes extension of ban on bituminous fuels
The Sinn Féin spokesperson on the environment, Brian Stanley TD, has given a qualified welcome to the extension of the ban on bituminous coals. He was speaking during a Dáil debate on the issue on Tuesday. He also asked whether the ban would apply to peat or any peat products and the implications of this for Bord na Mona.
Deputy Stanley said: “I welcome any measures to improve air quality and as a consequence public health. There is potential to create jobs in the midlands, for example through the processing of wood, peat and anthracite at colleries such as Rossmore in County Laois."
Deputy Stanley questioned whether we have sufficient availability here of smokeless fuel to meet the increased demand. He asked if the Department of the Environment had assessed this and that there is an opportunity for the Government and Bord na Mona to drive this through increased production of smokeless fuel and in turn reducing dependence on imports.
“There are issues of concern regarding the conversion of existing appliances, and the ability of pensioners and other vulnerable groups to meet costs. In order to address the cut to the winter fuel allowance the scheme should be extended to 30 weeks. Measures should also be taken to insulate all old local authority houses with solid walls which are often occupied by elderly people, so as to reduce the fuel bill and incidences of fuel poverty.”