Longford-Westmeath Deputy and Government Chief Whip, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, says the Government fully supports legislation introduced to the Dáil last week that aims to ban fracking in the country.
The bill passed its first stage in the Dáil last week, receiving cross-party support. Fracking is the process of blasting through shale rock to gain access to gas and fuel deposits. The process is under moratorium in Ireland pending a report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA ), due to be published in six months time. There are no outstanding applications for a licence to frack in Ireland.
Deputy Moran said the Prohibition of Exploration and Extraction of Onshore Petroleum Bill introduced to the Dáil by Deputy Tony McLoughlin has the full backing of Government.
“The Government, including the Independent Alliance, is fully supportive of the Bill,” he said. “I would have particular concerns that attempts would be made by exploration companies to seek licences for the extraction of shale gas from the Lough Allen basin which would have an extremely detrimental and adverse effect on the environment and local communities, which is something that I would not accept under any circumstances.
“There is a large body of scientific evidence now available which suggests that there are serious negative impacts connected with fracking, including potential landslides, contamination of ground water and the release of harmful chemicals into the air.
“My concern is for people’s health, the environment, and the effect that fracking would have on tourism and agriculture and that is why myself and my Government colleagues, including the Independent Alliance, will be supporting this Bill."