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Latest: Ireland will become first EU country to ban smoky coal

Update 4.50pm: Ireland will become the first EU country to completely ban smoky coal next year.

The new rules come into place in September 2018.

There will be a transition period to allow stocks to be sold off from then.

Environment Minister Denis Naughten says the ban will have health benefits for people around the country.

He said: "I think it is going to have a significant impact, we have already seen when smoky coal was banned in the city of Dublin there were hundreds of deaths saved because of that.

"The belief is that we will see hundreds of lives saved as a direct result of a nationwide ban of smoky coal.

"It is also going to have a significant impact in relation to hospitalisations."

Earlier: Smoky coal ban could be extended countrywide by 2019

A ban on the sale of smoky coal could be extended countrywide by 2019.

The Independent Climate Change Advisory Council will issue a report this morning which recommends banning coal and peat to make up for Ireland's failure to tackle climate change.

The burning of smoky coal has caused major air pollution, leading to respiratory problems and premature deaths.

Climatologist at Maynooth University, John Sweeney said Ireland needs to consider the matter "very seriously".

"Peat, in particular, represents our main carbon store in the landscape. By excavating the peat and then burning it we're actually compounding things, we can't trade off our carbon store and we're actually adding to our CO2," he said.

"Coal is becoming the no-go fuel over most of the world at this stage," he added.