Friends of the Irish Environment is writing to the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Micheál Martin questioning the first trade deal to be announced by the Minister in South Africa.

Harte Peat sells ‘deeply-dug wet peat' which is used as a base for growing mushrooms. The Minister has announced distribution for this product with a local partner company that will see Irish peat distributed through out South Africa.

It is now bidding to expand its markets in Africa into Mozambique to provide Irish peat which can be used to soak up oil pollution.

FIE says that ‘The Minister's description of peat as "an environmentally friendly product" shows a profound ignorance of the causes of climate change which the Cabinet is supposed to be addressing.'

The amount of peat extraction that is happening outside of Bord na Mona landholdings for horticulture compost and the consequent loss of carbon sink must be fully addressed by the Minister before the Government encourages deals like this.'

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