Fianna Fáil Councillor and Bye Election Candidate for Wexford, Malcolm Byrne, has said it is unacceptable that the Government are continuing to ignore calls for a smoky coal ban.

Malcolm has raised this at both local and national levels over the part number of years and was commenting as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) called on the Government to implement a nationwide ban as dirt in air from smoky coal is responsible for 1,000 deaths a year.

He said, “In response to calls from my Party Leader and others in Dáil Éireann the Taoiseach said that ‘the major cause for the air quality problem in Ireland is diesel cars, not smoky coal’.

“The Taoiseach is using bad logic here to try and equate the two issues. Both are harmful to the environment, that’s a given, but the Government can take steps, right now, to implement a ban on one and greatly improve the environment.

“In turning his blame elsewhere he went on to say that ‘people who know Enniscorthy well will know that it has much more to do with peat and briquettes than with smoky coal’.

“If it such a non-issue then why not implement the ban? The Taoiseach and the Government are bowing to the pressure of the coal industry and failing to show any backbone on this issue.

“On the one hand they are lauding their new green action plan and on the other they are ignoring very practical and implementable steps to clean up our air – it doesn’t make sense,” he concluded.