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Dublin: 7 °C Wednesday 16 October, 2019

Donegal and Sligo become latest local authorities to ban fracking

Donegal and Sligo join Clare, Leitrim and Roscommon in clamping down on the controversial practice to extract shale gas.

A worker at a fracking site in Colorado in the United States (File photo)
A worker at a fracking site in Colorado in the United States (File photo)
Image: AP Photo/David Zalubowski

DONEGAL AND SLIGO county councils have become the latest local authorities to ban fracking.

The vote follows similar move by councils in Clare, Leitrim and Roscommon. Councillors in Clare last week agreed in principle to a total ban on fracking in the county and urged the government to implement a national ban. Leitrim Council decided on a five-year moratorium on the practice.

The move is significant as debate continues over what is believed to be a multibillion deposit of natural shale gas beneath counties including Donegal, Sligo, Roscommon, Leitrim and Cavan.

The motion, proposed by Fine Gael councillor Barry O’Neill and debated at a meeting of the Council yesterday, called for the practice to be prohibited in the Donegal County Development Plan.

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a way of extracting natural gas from pockets in underground rock. Water and chemicals are pumped deep underground at high pressures to fracture rocks and allow pockets of natural gas to escape.

The oil industry has used it as a technique for decades, but it is only in recent years that technology has made it a viable technique for tapping gas reserves dispersed in shale rock strata.

Opponents say that the practice causes problems with disposal of the fracking fluid and can possibly contaminate water supplies.

Everything you ever needed to know about fracking

Poll: Should we ban fracking in Ireland?

Column: Never heard of fracking? You will soon

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