THE ban on smoky coal, which is due to be enforced in Killarney from next September, must apply to the purchase of the product and not just the burning of it, a meeting of Killarney Municipal District Council had heard.
Mayor Michael Gleeson said there is a danger that people could buy it elsewhere and bring it home to burn and that must be prevented in legislation.
The matter had been raised by Cllr Niall O’Callaghan who asked the council to actively promote a smokeless fuel policy for the entire Killarney municipal area.
“I’m talking about smoky coal only – not turf. We need to sort it out to help people with asthma and other health issues,” he said.
Cllr O’Callaghan said smog was still very evident in Killarney and he said it was very obvious in the estates in the vicinity of Fitzgerald Stadium.
Cllr Donal Grady said there is no doubt but that smoky coal will continue to be sold in Killarney even when the ban comes into force.
“They are importing it by the crate load from Northern Ireland and selling it for €11 a bag. We’ll destroy our own people that sell it and we’ll end up supporting the gangsters,” he said.
The council said it will run a promotion campaign relating to the ban before it is implemented in September.
Five years after it was revealed that air pollution in Killarney on winter nights was an astonishing 10 times higher than readings recorded during daylight hours, the government finally confirmed that a smoky coal ban is to be enforced in the town.
Environment and Climate Action Minister, Richard Bruton, revealed that, close on two decades after it was introduced in larger areas of population, including Tralee, the outright ban will be extended to 13 more towns, including Killarney.
In 2014 KillarneyToday.com revealed that the preliminary findings of research conducted by scientists in UCC revealed that small particulate pollution levels at night time in Killarney far exceeded EU and World Health Organisation limits.
UCC’s centre for research into atmospheric chemistry suggested that in many cases, air pollution levels, due to the burning of solid fuels, exceed accepted EU limits and there were reported links to respiratory diseases and cancer.
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