Kerry County Council is to emphasise the council’s support for continued cutting and distribution of turf in the 2022 County Development Plan draft.
The commitment of support is relating to turf used for the purpose of home heating.
Councillors have also agreed to reword a proposal to increase awareness of the value of peatlands; the proposal was submitted by the Kerry Green Party.
This commitment arose out of a debate over a submission made by the Kerry Green Party on whether the council should strive to increase awareness of our peatlands and their biodiverse value.
However, Fine Gael councillor Aoife Thornton argued that it was the Green Party who didn’t realise the value of Kerry’s bogs.
Most of the councillors agreed, with Independent councillor Donal Grady saying it would take a brave man to stop him from cutting turf on the bog he’s worked on since he was four years old.
Cllr Cathal Foley argued that we should be promoting biodiversity awareness on our peatlands but later withdrew his proposal.
Fine Gael councillor Jim Finucane proposed that the council would instead welcome engagement from local community groups that could promote the biodiverse use of peatlands on a voluntary basis and avail of potential funding should boglands be gifted upon them.
That would primarily focus on extanct boglands, which are no longer being used for extraction.
Meanwhile, Independent councillor Maura Healy-Rae proposed that the council highlight its support in light of the controversial proposal brought forward by Eamonn Ryan to ban the sale of turf from September.
It’s still unclear whether the government has agreed on whether the sale of turf will be banned but councillors are keen to send a message to the coalition that they will not support such legislation.