The smoky coal ban has been extended to all towns with populations of more than 10,000 people, including Castlebar and Ballina.

From September of next year, smoky coal will be banned in thirteen towns across Cavan, Cork, Kerry, Longford, Mayo, Meath, Offaly and Waterford.

Minister for Climate Action and the Environment Richard Bruton says the extension is being brought in to address immediate health concerns in these towns.

He has also announced that the government would not be proceeding with a nationwide ban on smoky coal.

Fine Gael Senator Michelle Mulherin has welcomed the extension of the ban to Ballina and Castlebar.

She says that the smokeless coal counterpart will still be available in the towns and represents value for money.

The Ballina Senator told Midwest News that a nationwide ban was not possible due to possible legal action against the state.

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