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'A great victory': Onshore fracking is just one step away from being completely banned in Ireland

The Petroleum and Other Minerals Development (Prohibition of Onshore Hydraulic Fracturing) Bill 2016 will be signed into law by the president in the coming days.

Anti-fracking supporters outside Leinster House in Dublin today.
Anti-fracking supporters outside Leinster House in Dublin today.
Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

ONSHORE FRACKING WILL soon be banned in Ireland, after a private member’s bill passed through its final stages in the Oireachtas this afternoon.

The Petroleum and Other Minerals Development (Prohibition of Onshore Hydraulic Fracturing) Bill 2016 will now be signed into law by the president in the coming days.

The private member’s bill (meaning it wasn’t put forward by the government) was first introduced into the Dáil last year by Fine Gael TD Tony McLoughlin.

It passed through the final stages of the Dáil late last month, and made it through the final stage of the Seanad today, meaning it will soon become law.

The law will put an end to onshore fracking in the country. Ireland will join other EU countries – France and Bulgaria – where it is fully banned.

Last month, opposition TDs had attempted to amend the bill to include offshore fracking as well, however the amendments were defeated in the Dáil.

Hydraulic fracking is a process for extracting oil and gas from shale rock. It involves digging deep underground before a high pressure water and chemical mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside.

“A great victory”

Environmental groups have long been opposed to the mechanism, saying that it was harmful for the environment and human health. The passing of the bill through the Oireachtas is being hailed as a victory.

“This ban is a great victory for the local campaigners who have mobilised and educated themselves, their communities and their elected representatives on the threat fracking poses to local water, regional employment and global climate,” said Kate Ruddock, spokesperson for umbrella group Environmental Pillar.

All around the world communities are campaigning to keep fossil fuels in the ground and to put citizens at the heart of a new, clean, healthy energy system. This victory is a tribute to their solidarity and is a shot in the arm for our common cause of a fossil free future.

The Love Leitrim group – who have been campaigning for the ban for a number of years – also welcomed the passing of the bill.

“As a small community it was a fight for its life. We have a right to live in a safe place,” said spokesperson Eddie Mitchell.

People didn’t have a choice but to get involved, this is our home, where our families are from, where our people are buried and these fields are the place where our children play.

Fine Gael’s Tony McLoughlin said the passing of the bill was “a special moment for me and the people I was elected to represent.”.

“This law will mean communities in the west and north-west of Ireland will be safeguarded from the negative effects of hydraulic fracking,” he said.

If fracking was allowed to take place in Ireland and Northern Ireland it would pose significant threats to the air, water and the health and safety of individuals and communities here.

The bill will now be signed into law by the president in the coming days.

Read: Fracking: ‘We argued and protested. We met at marts and concerts. We persisted and we succeeded’

Read: Five-year report outlines dangers of fracking and ‘underpins’ proposed ban

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