Ballyfermot residents have concerns over a proposal by Dublin Corporation to ban the burning of smoky coal in their community.

This smoke control order would affect 800 local authority householders in Ballyfermot, 700 of whom use open fires to heat their homes.  This is necessary, say Dublin Corporation, as air quality in the area has reached critical levels,

Environmental health officers with the Eastern Health Board told today’s hearing that the air pollution levels in Ballyfermot were the worst in Dublin city, and that the use of solid fuel was the main contributor to the smog in this densely populated area.

Solid fuels such as coal and turf would be banned under this ministerial order.  Minister for the Environment Padraig Flynn has announced that grants will be made available for residents, but this will not be enough to cover the cost of the more expensive smokeless fuels. Ballyfermot Residents’ representative Marie Jago explains, 

Anything that improves the quality of life in Ballyfermot we would welcome. We would like to see the smoke free zone extended to the whole of Ballyfermot. What we are objecting to is the cost to the tenants and the householders. In that area there’s a high number of unemployed and old people.  They cannot afford to change over.

Marketing director of Coal Distributers Limited (CDL) Eugene Gibney is there to put the case forward to allow householders to continue to burn bituminous or smoky coal.  Bord na Móna union group representative Patrick Murphy is also present at City Hall, as the ban on solid fuels will affect Bord na Móna workers,

Briquette factories employ about 400 people, and an additional 600 employed in the processing of peat, and two of those factories are located quite close to Dublin.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 28 June 1988.  The reporter is Cathy Halloran.