09 Aug 2022

Health alliance says anything less than a full ban on sale of turf will 'cost lives'

Health alliance says only a full ban on sale of turf will 'save lives'

A coalition of public health organisations across Ireland has warned that a failure to fully ban the sale of turf could cost lives and would represent an abandonment of the State’s duty to protect public health.

However, such a ban is a contentious issue, particularly in rural parts of Ireland where many rely on turf as their main heat source. 

There has also been some confusion over how far the ban would go in relation to the use and sale of turf. 

Mark Murphy, a spokesperson for the advocacy group Climate and Health Alliance which includes the Irish Heart Foundation, Irish Doctors for the Environment and the Asthma Society of Ireland, said there is no safe level of air pollution for human health.

“Dirty air continues to cause 1,300 premature deaths every year in Ireland due to stroke, heart disease, COPD and acute lower respiratory infections, while hindering any quality of life by exacerbating symptoms of existing chronic diseases,” he said.

“We simply cannot allow these countless deaths to continue and let the most vulnerable in our society, who are most at risk from the dangers of air pollution - infants, children and the elderly - suffer.

“It is imperative that these regulations are implemented in full while everything possible is done to minimise the impact of those experiencing energy poverty and relying on turf to heat their homes.

“The Climate and Health Alliance is urging the Government to support these regulations for the benefit of the environment, public health and, ultimately, to save lives,” Mr Murphy said. 

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