Michael Fitzmaurice TD released a statement outlining his reasons for abstaining from yesterday’s vote for Taoiseach.
“For many years I have worked with the Department and the National Parks and Wildlife Service to find an overarching solution to the problems facing turf cutters right across the country. A central part of the solution in many areas was the option of re-location and co-existence. To be successful it was important that domestic turf cutters who were relocated, did not require planing permission as this could slow down the whole process for years which would be totally unacceptable”
“I sought a commitment from the incoming government that turf cutting in these re-located bogs would be exempt from planning permission. This commitment was not forthcoming and I felt I had to stand by my constituents and turf cutters throughout the country. I could not renege on my principles. I couldn’t let those people down.
Reflecting on his role in talks which led to the formation of the Government and look ahead to the future he said “I am happy that, together with my colleagues in the Independent Alliance, that I have made a major contribution to the programme for government – particularly in the areas of Rural regeneration, Health & hospitals, Mortgage arrears, Agricultural reform, CAP reform, Rural schools, Housing initiatives, Renewal of towns & villages and many other policies which I will be following up in this Dail term.
I want to wish the new Government well and I intend to play a full and constructive part in this Dail to see that the policies that I helped to draft are implemented, and particularly those that will assist the regeneration of rural Ireland” he concluded.