Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has welcomed news that Ireland is set to ban plastic micro-beads.
The Ireland South MEP, who sits on the EU Fisheries Committee, said it was long past time the beads were banned.
“I’m delighted that the government has announced their intention to go ahead with this rather than waiting on the long delayed EU directive on the issue,” she said.
“Of course we will have to wait and see what is in the Bill before giving it our full support but any step towards banning these harmful pollutants is a positive one.
“In the past number of years the Government has voted down Bills introduced to the Dáil by other parties that would have banned microbeads. I trust when it comes to voting on this Bill those parties will be more mature than Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, and not further delay crucial environmental protection for the sake of political expediency.
“I have previously raised this issue with EU Marine Commissioner Karmenu Vella and have been deeply frustrated by the slow pace of progress in achieving a Europe-wide ban.
“Microbeads are an ecological ticking time bomb. Earlier this year a study by NUI Galway revealed just how pervasive the problem is, with 73% of deepwater fish they studied having microbeads or microplastics in their bodies.
“These particles are so embedded in the fish and difficult to dispose of that they not only affect the fish that ingest them but the fish that eat those fish.
“We do not yet know the full extent of the harm these microbeads and microplastics may cause, particularly to our food chain, but what we do know is that they are already more pervasive than we thought. We must act now rather than find out the truth too late.”