News & Media

Immediate ban on Smoky Coal Needed to save Lives

17 December 2019

Statement by Brendan Howlin TD
Party Leader and Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Northern Ireland

Speaking on the launch of our motion on the environment and pollution, Labour Party Leader Brendan Howlin said there is a need for an immediate ban on smoky coal, and action from the Government to produce a National Clean Air Strategy and National Clean Water strategy.

Deputy Howlin said:

“The Government is dragging it’s feet on saving lives, by refusing to introduce the long awaiting national ban on smoky coal. It is engaged in playing politics, and kicking to touch an issue that is affecting the lives of thousands of people.

“The EPA has called for this ban, as have many other campaigning groups. The EPA have said that pollution from smoky coal is responsible for 1,000 deaths a year. At its core this is a serious health issue that warrants immediate action. Air pollution damages lung and heart health. No other industry would be allowed threaten lives like this.

“There has been a drastic deterioration in air quality across our towns and cities in recent years, and the Government has given into legal threats from suppliers. We know the ban has been in place for years in our cities and larger towns without challenge. Now is the time to act.

“The continuous problems with water treatment plans, and rising pollution in our rivers should also be an urgent call to action.

“We need a National Clean Air Strategy, and a National Clean Water Strategy, and we need a concrete, quantified account of how our greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced.

“There is also a lack of effective regulation of quarries and illegal dumps leading to further deterioration in our environment.”