Latest Kildare News: Midlands Horticulturists to protest at Convention Centre
PLANT NURSERY OWNERS TO DEMONSTRATE TODAY AT THE CONVENTION CENTRE
Exasperated plant nursery owners from all over the country are taking their frustrations on the ban on Horticultural peat harvesting to the seat of Irish Government today, saying they are ‘being ignored and let down’ by the Government.
Larry Doran Spokesperson for Kildare Growers, who have consistently lobbied for Government support for the Horticultural Industry, says they are at the end of their tether since the ban on harvesting of peat on bogs over 30 hectares .
“We have been completely let down and forgotten about by the Irish Government as a collective, and we have to take action. This is one of the most important environmental issues facing our country and it is beyond belief that we have to beg for our survival at a time when the Green Party is in government”.
Saying thousands of jobs are at risk in his industry Mr Doran says “Irish nurseries across the country rely on Irish peat as a growing medium. The Irish Horticulture Industry is facing it’s largest crisis to date . It is an absurd situation and this environmental tokenism by the Irish Government will cost us our jobs, our livelihoods and our passion for growing and nurturing. We are the propagators, without us there is no Irish Horticulture industry”.
“This issue is of critical importance not only to plant nurseries but to the wider horticultural industry, including production of mushroom, vegetables and soft fruit and has serious implications for thousands of jobs”.
“The Irish Horticulture Industry employs approximately 17,000 people, particularly in rural areas. If no solution is found immediately, businesses will be forced to close and there will be a loss of native biodiversity and biosecurity. There is a high likelihood that there will be no Irish plants for sale next year, and garden centres will be forced to import all products”.
“What’s ‘Green’ about that, it is beyond nonsensical”.
”The stockpiles have dried up and without legislative change there will be no Irish Peat available for the industry come September.”
“To be clear, our industry is the section of horticulture that grows trees such as Oak and Pine that are planted to sequester carbon; the industry that grows hedging to provide Spring food for our songbirds and the industry that grows flowering plants to sustain pollinating honeybees and butterflies. This is one of the key industries that is providing us with the tools to help reverse the degradation of our environment”.
“Until now this has been Irish growers providing jobs and growing plants for the Irish environment. The peat used in potting is returned to the soil when the trees are planted; it is not burnt or destroyed like peat used for the production of burning. It is completely different as it continues to store its carbon in the soil biosphere. Right now, there are no sustainable alternatives to Irish peat for growing plants in Ireland and the Green Party is acutely aware of this and the cessation of Irish horticultural peat production forces us expects us to import inferior quality growing material, from the Balkans or Malaysia, 2,300km and 10,000km from our shores, respectively. This will have a compounding detrimental effect on the environment, as we as a people strive to keep our obligations to the Paris Agreement”.
“People who have little knowledge of our industry often suggest alternatives such as coir, a product shipped from the tropics and grown on land stripped of tropical forest. Surely the Green Party understands how environmentally damaging this is”.
“There is an epidemic failure within the government to understand the issues facing the environment and impact of short-term objectives and poor decisions on the entire horticulture industry”.
“It appears that this locally based, long-standing and successful industry has been an unintended casualty of the environmental challenges that the country is facing. One of the gems of Irelands environmental battle is seriously threatened, by becoming the victim of the environmental war it is helping to fight”.
“Peat is the essential growing medium that all growers use to produce their crops. Although an essential raw material for plant growth, the industry typically only uses 1% of Irelands Annual Peat Harvest. The twin concerns of pollution from peat burning and loss of biodiversity and habitat, has led to a complete cessation of peat harvesting since June 2020 due to legal and political challenges. The gross irony of this decision is collapsing the very industry that helps sustain Irelands biodiversity”.
“Nursery stock growers primarily located close to the midland bogs (Bog of Allen), produce millions of plants per annum that have an incredibly positive contribution to our environment (Co2 absorbed and biodiversity)”
“This is the worst ever crisis we have ever faced and thousands of jobs, direct and indirect are at serious risk”.
“The Green Party found itself the subject of much ridicule when its party leader Eamon Ryan mooted the idea of carpooling for rural communities and releasing wolves into the countryside, but to us, a Green Party that is not protecting the Irish environment is the biggest joke of all and one that is causing tears and not laughter in the Irish horticultural industry”.
“Does the Green Party want to go down in history as potentially being the party responsible for the demise of what they say is one of the greenest industries in Ireland, it is beyond absurd”.