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Government Policy Statement is death knell for fracked gas imports into Ireland

18 May 2021

Friends of the Earth today [18th May] welcomes the publication of a Government Policy Statement on the Importation of Fracked Gas, including a moratorium on the development of LNG import terminals pending the completion of an energy security review. The policy statement stems from a commitment in the Programme for Government, and confirms that the Government does not support the importation of fracked gas [1].

Commenting on the statement, Jerry Mac Evilly, Head of Policy at Friends of the Earth said:

“This is a welcome step towards a permanent ban on fracked gas imports. We’re confident that an evidence based energy security review will find that Ireland does not need to import fracked gas to secure our energy supply and keep the lights on. And it’s already crystal clear that we cannot afford to import fracked gas - or any highly polluting fossil fuels - on climate grounds. So this is a death knell for fracked gas imports into Ireland."

“Today’s decision is a testament to the grassroots activists who have fought heroically against fracked gas on human and planetary health grounds. They have campaigned tirelessly; first to ban fracking in Ireland and now to prevent the importation of fracked gas and LNG into the country”

“Today’s statement will provide some welcome clarity for many communities, who are concerned about the development of polluting LNG terminals near their homes. We are now calling on the Government to make clear that they have communicated today’s policy statement to all relevant Departments and public bodies, especially An Bord Pleanála - so we can rest assured that planning permission for LNG infrastructure will not proceed."

"It would be helpful too if the Government could confirm that the energy security review - and subsequent deliberation on future policy - will not conclude until the second half of 2022."

“We also note the Attorney General's advice regarding legislation. Academic research has reached a different conclusion. The Attorney General's advice should be published in order to ensure an informed analysis.”

Today’s statement represents an important step towards honoring the Programme for Government commitment to ban fracked gas imports. It also indicates that Ireland’s Paris Climate Agreement commitments are starting to inform its energy policy. It provides policy certainty that no projects importing fracked gas will be permitted until after a review of Ireland’s energy security.

The Government has committed to working towards restricting fracked gas at EU level and to promoting the phase out of fracked gas at international level. The Government now has an opportunity to turn these promises into action by supporting a UN resolution to ban fracked gas. Friends of the Earth and others have written to the Minister for Foreign Affairs asking the Irish Government to propose a United Nations resolution calling for a global ban on fracking [2].

 

ENDS

Notes

1. The full Policy Statement is available at https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/f3774-policy-statement-on-the-importation-of-fracked-gas/.

2. Friends of the Earth’s joint letter to the Minister for Foreign Affairs is available here https://drive.google.com/file/d/1nSmjpXtZtpnQHg2gdDUlnR4xFrtDL874/view

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