SUPPLIERS of creosote-treated timber told the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine this week of big interest in the product ahead of an upcoming ban.

Creosote is regarded as a carcinogen (cancer-causing product) but has long been used to preserve timber and is widely used to protect post and rail wooden fencing.

Timber treated with the coal-tar creosote is preserved for years as it largely prevents decay and water ingress.

An EU regulation was passed last year and a ban on the product was designated as January 1st 2023.

Creosote is widely used in Ireland to preserve wooden equine fencing, agricultural fencing, telegraph poles and railway sleepers. The final date for professional users to use creosote in Ireland was designated as February 28th 2023.

Enforced by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, it will now be prohibited by law to sell creosote or creosote-treated timber to the public by April 30th 2023, except for railway sleepers or telecommunications poles to professional end-users.

The Agriculture Committee heard from some of the main suppliers in the market place, including Kildare’s PDM, of the big interest from the equine/agricultural customers in securing creosote-treated timber ahead of next month’s final prohibition.

One supplier told the Committee that all supplies of this product are already pre-sold and he could sell threefold what he has ahead of the ban. “Jeeps and trailers are lining up for it,” he told the Agriculture Committee, chaired by Tipperary TD Jackie Cahill (FF).

Breaking and schooling scheme

In other Dáil news, Cork South West TD Christopher O’Sullivan (FF) asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD (FF) when the ‘breaking and schooling scheme’ for the equine sector will be available for application in 2023.

Minister Charlie McConalogue replied: “The ‘breaking and schooling scheme’ was supported under the Equine National Breeding Services which was previously provided by Horse Sport Ireland up to 2022. A public tendering process for the delivery of these breeding services on behalf of my Department has taken place and the contract agreement is currently being finalised.

“Should this service be approved by my Department as part of the contract, the date of application would be a matter for the service provider.”