Work has been suspended on scientific research being carried out by DIAS in Leitrim, Cavan and Fermanagh following concerns over its links to fracking.
Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS) were undertaking research into the Northwest Carboniferous Basin to assess the potential for sequestration and long term storage of man made carbon dioxide, they later stated the survey would test out their equipment.
The research method included recording instruments to be placed on fields for three days and nights.
Love Leitrim had called for landowners to ‘Lock your gates’ calling the unauthorised survey “another exploratory threat that could facilitate the introduction of fracking into Ireland.”
Sinn Féin Deputy Michael Colreavy told the paper that “work has been suspended” on the survey and he along with Phil Flanagan MLA intend to meet the study team to attain answers to local concerns.
Deputy Colreavy said, “It is little wonder that local landowners and residents, who understand the threat posed by fracking, have serious concerns when scientists arrive unannounced to test the subsurface of lands in this area.
“The concerns have increased since the apparent objectives of this study appear to be changing from carbon storage testing to testing equipment associated with fracking.”
DIAS denies that the study pertains to fracking.
The Department of Energy has said, “the type of activity proposed by DIAS is not considered an activity that requires a petroleum exploration authorisation from the Minister for CENR, nor is it an activity that would justify the granting of a prospecting or exploration licence were one applied for and therefore does not fall within the remit of the functions established in the Act.”
The location of the survey overlies the areas of interest to gas companies, where old seismic data has previously been gathered including Kiltyclogher, Glenfarne and Glangelvin.
Eddie Mitchell from Love Leitrim believes the data gathered by this survey could be used by fracking companies to fill the current information deficit and help gas companies assess the potential for shale gas development.