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3rd April 2020 | Agriculture, Coronavirus, Press Releases

Greens call on Minister Harris to recognise allotments as essential food outlets

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Speaking today, the Green Party Spokesperson on Food, Senator Pippa Hackett, has said,

“Over the past few days, my Green Party colleagues and I have been contacted by many members of the public, about the closure of allotments in a number of council areas. For example, Fingal County Council, has ordered the closure of all allotments within its jurisdiction, based on the Government’s Public Health advice, however, other local authorities have not.”

“I recognise that public health must be the paramount consideration, and I welcome the extensive actions the Government has taken to limit the spread of Covid-19.  However, in relation to allotments in particular, I have written to Minister Harris would urging him to  revise the public health guidance in relation to allotments, and to recognise them as essential food production site for many individuals and communities, and to include them within the food production exemption on this basis.”

“Allotments are in the open air, are effectively private (rather than public) spaces, and are laid out in a manner amenable to social distancing. A trip to the allotment presents a much lower risk of infection compared to, say, a trip to the supermarket, while providing a food source that may be just as essential to a given individual. The additional benefits of physical and mental wellbeing cannot be ignored either.”

Cllr Karen Power, Balbriggan LEA, said:

“While understanding and welcoming the many necessary restrictions imposed to tackle the corona virus pandemic, I would ask Minister Harris to reconsider the closure of allotments due to their classification as farms with their main purpose being that of food production. Many plotholders have planted food for the year and it needs tending, others have lost their jobs and are relying on their allotments as their main source of food supply.”