A Bill banning fracking in Ireland passed all stages of the Dáil today, and is expected to ensure that the highly controversial oil and gas extraction process will be prohibited from happening "anywhere inshore" in the State.
The Prohibition of the Exploration and Extraction of Onshore Petroleum Bill was introduced by Sligo-Leitrim TD Tony McLoughlin and was amended and strengthened at Committee Stage where it was renamed the Petroleum and Other Minerals Development (Prohibition of Onshore Hydraulic Fracturing ) Bill 2016.
The Bill now goes to the Seanad for examination, after which it will become law. Its passing has been welcomed by the Minister for Gaeltacht Affairs and Natural Resources and Fine Gael Galway West TD Seán Kyne.
"I commend and congratulate Dep McLoughlin on his work and perseverance on this issue which has been one of great concern to many individuals and communities across the country, particularly in the west and north west. The enactment of a Private Members' Bill is quite rare. I think it shows what can be achieved through co-operation and reasoned scrutiny by the different parties."
As the Bill was passing through committee stage, Dep Kyne introduced a number of amendments "to help achieve the main objectives of the Bill", such as clearer and more legally-sound definitions of hydraulic fracturing and internal waters, and a statement regarding the specific activity to be banned.
"The Bill effectively bans the practice of fracking anywhere inshore," said Dep Kyne, "and will ensure the risks and concerns highlighted in the recently-published report from the Environmental Protection Agency's Joint Research Programme on Unconventional Gas Exploration and Extraction will be avoided."