Health benefits of banning smoky coal can’t be ignored

11 June 2019

Labour Party Health spokesperson Alan Kelly TD has said the Government can no longer continue to ignore the benefits of banning smoky coal.

Deputy Kelly said:

“A commitment was made in 2015 to implement a nationwide ban on smoky coal in 2016, yet here we are over four years later with no action taken by Fine Gael on banning these harmful coals.

“Prolonging this ban will have implications on air quality in towns across the country with a population of 15,000 and have knock on effects on people’s health and quality of life.

“We know the Government has little interest in working to ban this smoky coal for the good of people’s health as parliamentary questions I submitted have showed there has been no meeting between the Department of Climate Action and the Department of Health with a view to discussing the health benefits of banning these coals.

“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.

“Today the Irish Times has reported the differences in air quality in towns that have the ban on smoky coal versus those that don’t and the figures speak for themselves.

“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.

“If the Government were serious about the “green agenda” then they would act on this issue.”

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