The Environment Minister Eamon Ryan has taken the first step towards a nationwide ban on the sale and burning of smoky coal.
The Minister has launched a public consultation to seek views on the further regulation of solid fuel use for domestic home heating.
Under current regulations, the sale, marketing, distribution and burning of smoky coal is not permitted in specific low smoke zones (LSZs) across the country - these zones are in cities and all towns with populations in excess of 10,000 people.
There is a commitment in the Programme for Government to work towards a national extension of this ban over the term of government.
Meanwhile, six months after the burning of smoky coal was banned in Castlebar, the Mayo county town showing slight, but encouraging signs of an improvement in air quality.
The Irish Times reports that sensors at the EPA office in Castlebar monitor local air quality.
Yesterday, it was classified as "good", although it can frequently fall into the "moderate" quality.
According to IQ Air, Castlebar's air quality index yesterday was 41, down from between 53 and 60 in previous days - values at or below 100 are deemed to be satisfactory.
However, local heating suppliers say that, since the ban on burning smoky coal, there's been a big shift in Castlebar to wood-burning stoves.