Pressure mounting on possible government partners to reject plans for imported fracked gas terminals

Leitrim Observer Reporter

Reporter:

Leitrim Observer Reporter

Community campaigner to run as independent in local elections in Leitrim

Jamie Murphy, Chairperson of Love Leitrim

130 national and international groups have today written to all Irish Party leaders requesting them to remove support for fracked gas infrastructure in Ireland.  The letter comes as negotiations for Government intensify and requests an explicit policy statement to be included in the next Programme for Government against the development of all new fossil fuel infrastructure in the form of LNG import terminals that could facilitate the entry of unconventional fracked gas into the Irish energy mix.  

Two fracked gas terminals, or - LNG - terminals are currently proposed, in Shannon and Cork.  The terminals would be developed as  import hubs, allowing fracked gas into the European market from the USA where there is currently an oversupply of this controversial fuel. 

The project in the Shannon Estuary is being proposed by New Fortress Energy, an American company that specialises in LNG and power generation.  Due to its support from the previous Government the project has been granted significant benefits from the European Union, including access to funding and fast track licensing and approval.  However, the future for Shannon LNG has never been more precarious, as it currently faces a High Court challenge from environmental group Friends of the Irish Environment over the decision-making process that led to its approval.   

Eddie Mitchell, campaigner with Love Leitrim said, “We banned fracking in Ireland 3 years ago because we knew how dangerous and polluting it was for people, the environment and the climate.  If Ireland facilitates the building of these terminals, we will be creating a functional interdependence between suffering and sickness in communities in North America and gas consumption in Ireland. 

Love Leitrim Chairperson Jamie Murphy said “This is a climate justice issue, we can't ban fracking in Ireland to protect our communities but be willing to exploit others elsewhere. None of Ireland’s GHG emissions being counted will include most of the climate accelerating ones associated with fracking, in particular methane, the toxic greenhouse gas with over 87 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide We decide what fuels we use in our energy mix.

“The campaign to ban fracking was a political campaign. It won because of pressure from the people of Ireland. Now 74 out of 160 of the newly elected TD’s have already committed to ending support for LNG terminals, so we know there is a lot of support within the Dail to stop these terminals”.

Although Shannon LNG has already been approved by the European Commission, it requires the continued support of the member state Government, in order to proceed and have access to European funds. This letter to all party leaders today calls for an explicit commitment not to continue Government support for these projects.   

Kate Ruddock, of Friends of the Earth said, “Ireland needs to start to plan for a future that is compatible with a safe climate.  Pouring money and support into infrastructure like this would be a huge boost to the fossil fuel industry who are desperately trying to secure markets for their toxic fuels. That money would be far better spent investing in renewable energy, particularly the offshore to support our transition away from fossil fuels, rather than locking us into decades of using more of them.

Roisin Keegan O Rourke- Delegate on Ireland's first Youth Assembly on Climate said: “We see by the level of support for this document  that it is a hugely popular issue. Stopping the importation of fracked gas is also one that Ireland's young people have taken on board, and was included in the recommendations made by the Climate Youth Assembly last November. This is a chance for our TDs  to deliver. They will be delivering on something that will make an immediate difference to climate change. 
If the current crises has taught us anything it's that we can really come together on things when it matters".