A 'common sense' approach is needed on the sale and distribution of turf, Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue says.
He was speaking as the Green Party appears to be rowing back on new laws to ban it.
Party leader and Environment Minister Eamon Ryan said on Sunday that restrictions will come in from September.
However, Mr Ryan told the Irish Independent that small, rural communities of fewer than 500 people will be exempt from the ban.
Minister McConalogue said the fuel is still important to those who use it.
"I think we have to take a common-sense approach to how we address this issue.
"I know myself, as somebody who spent many many summers in the hill cutting and footing turf, and backbreaking work that it is.
"But it's something that we've seen drop significantly in recent years.
"But it is really important fuel in many parts of the country still; obviously against the backdrop as well at the moment of high fuel prices.
"I have no doubt in the years ahead we will see less turf cut - that has been the trend over recent years.
"But it's important that we respect the traditional rights and activity, and importance of turf to those communities that still use it - particularly in parts of rural Ireland".
And he believes while we have to reduce emissions, this should be kept in the frame a bigger picture.
"It's important we keep this in context: turf is only used in a very minimal amount of instances now.
"But it is important for those who still use it.
"And I think we need to focus on the bigger picture, we need to focus on making real progress.
"We need to focus on that transition from fossil fuel to clean energy".