‘To have a situation where people can go and sit outdoor, and squander energy - where cafés and pubs use this as an attraction to bring customers to their particular pubs.’
He told Newstalk Breakfast that staying warm in the winter months should come from layers, not the “wasteful” outdoor heaters we usually rely on.
The heaters are doing “damage" to the environment amid rising energy bills, the environmentalist said.
"This is the most wasteful way of using energy.
"To have a situation where people can go and sit outdoors, and squander energy - where cafés and pubs use this as an attraction to bring customers to their particular pubs...
"It's the rich, basically, that can do this.”
When pushed byNewstalk Breakfast hosts on the need to dine outdoors in the event of spikes in Covid cases, Stewart said preparation is key.
"If I want to sit outdoors that's fine, I should be dressed for the occasion,” he said.
"But if I do go, and if I find one of these, I immediately leave."
There is no way to justify the reliance on the outdoor heaters, he said. “We have to live out lives within a level where we’re being responsible.
"We have so many people poor now that will have problems trying to heat their homes and with the shortages.”
Minister Eamon Ryan later assured listeners that there are no plans to ban the outdoor heaters or to “put the guilt finger at any one person or any one activity”.
"I think every business is going to have to decide, and every household, without anyone putting a shame or guilt on them - how can we reduce our energy to save us money, to be part of what's going to have to be a collective effort through a very difficult wartime period.
Minister Ryan said he agreed with the environmentalist that use should be reduced but “shaming” users of outdoor heaters is the wrong way of going about it.