Gov being irresponsible on smoky coal delay

22 April 2019

Labour Party Health spokesperson Alan Kelly has described the Government’s lack of planning around the proposed smoky coal ban as irresponsible.

This comes as Parliamentary Questions show that key Government Departments haven’t met to discuss the implementation of this ban since May 2016

Deputy Kelly said:

“Despite commitments made in 2015, the Government have yet to make the necessary preparations to ban smoky coals.

“Answers I have received to PQs show that the Department of Health have not met the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment to discuss the health benefits from banning these coals. This is extremely irresponsible.

“It’s hard to believe that the Department of Health have not been pushing harder for the implementation of this ban, considering the knock on effect smoky coals have on people’s respiratory health.

“The ban on smoky coal was introduced in Dublin in 1990 and now applies to all towns across the country with a population greater than 15,000. That has led to important improvements in air quality and it is estimated to have saved 350 lives per year through the reduction in smog and particulate matter in the atmosphere.

“People in towns all over the country that don’t quite meet the 15,000 population requisite, are crying out for smoky coal to be banned. The health benefits are undeniable.

“When I first proposed banning smoky coal in 2015 it was with the caveat that the industry would have one year to prepare for the transition to smokeless coal and other cleaner resources, yet nearly four years later, the Government have made little effort to make this plan a reality, to the detriment of the health of many people in small and medium sized towns across the country.

“There’s been talk that a ban on smoky coal will take effect from September, but the Government are still unable to confirm this.

“There needs to be a cross-Government approach to banning these harmful coals.

“I will be writing to both Ministers Harris and Bruton this week to call for them to work together to Introduce this long-awaited ban before year-end.”

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