Minister consigns EPA fracking research programme to cold storage

Initial results ‘clearly point to the fact that the practice of fracking would not be a viable option in Ireland.’

Decision comes just days after Fianna Fail and Fine Gael members of Sligo County Council blocked motion proposing insertion of ban on fracking in Draft County Development Plan.

Sligo News File Online.

Site of fracking operations.
Site of US fracking operations.


Just two days after Sligo councillors, Declan Bree (Independent) and Thomas Healy (Sinn Fein) called on members of the county council to back a notice of motion proposing a ban on fracking in the

Joe McHugh, TD., Minister of State
Joe McHugh, TD.,
Minister of State

north-west, Minister of State, Joe McHugh has ‘put on hold’ a joint EPA research programme set up to examine the effects of the controversial technique – a development designed to recover gas from shale rock.

The move has been “strongly welcomed” by local TD, Tony McLoughlin who has described it as “a considerable setback to those trying to promote fracking in our country.”

Tony McLoughlin, T.D., Fine Gael, Sligo - Leitrim
Tony McLoughlin, T.D.,
Fine Gael, Sligo – Leitrim

He said officials of the Department of Energy had informed him that the Steering Group responsible for the award of the contract, and overseeing the project, “has agreed that the Consortium would be requested to produce a report pulling together the results of the research carried out to-date.

“It is anticipated that this report could be completed and published in the second half of this year,” he said.

The Fine Gael Sligo – Leitrim Deputy said “Minister McHugh has stated that initial indications of the results are clearly pointing to the fact that the practice of fracking would not be a viable option in Ireland.

Toxic Water“As someone who is opposed to fracking being permitted in Ireland in any form, this is a very important development.

“Minister McHugh knows my feelings on this issue, and that I am totally against fracking as I have met with him on several occasions throughout the duration of this Government to discuss this issue, and most recently with community groups from North Leitrim and its environs.

“I will continue to lobby my fellow politicians to ensure that we do not see fracking introduced into our country in the future,” he said.

fracking-fuild-mixtureThe notice of motion moved by Cllrs. Bree and Healy at Monday’s meeting of Sligo County Council proposed that its detailed “text and policies” opposing unconventional gas exploration be included in the Draft County Development Plan 2017 – 2023 which the council is to consider in a few months time.

However, the resolution was defeated by members of Fianna Fail including the party’s general election candidate, Eamon Scanlon. Other party members who voted against it were Martin Baker, a brother-in-law of Eamon Scanlon, Tommie MacSharry, a cousin of another Fianna Fail election candidate Senator Marc MacSharry, Seamus Kilgannon, Paul Taylor and Rose O’Grady. Fine Gael members who voted with Fianna Fail in opposing the resolution were Dara Mulvey, brother-in-law of Fine Gael general election candidate and former junior Coalition minister, John Perry, Sinead Maguire and Hubert Keaney.

Those who supported the resolution included Cllrs. Declan Bree, an Independent, and general election candidate, Thomas Healy and Sean MacManus (Sinn Fein), Marie Casserley, Independent and general election candidate, Michael Clarke, Joe Queenan and Margaret Gormley (all three Independents), and Gino O’Boyle (People before Profit.

On the other side of the Atlantic concerns over fracking are growing as report finds widespread environmental damage on an unimaginable scale in the US

Fracking in America generated 280 billion gallons of toxic waste water last year – enough to flood all of Washington DC beneath a 22ft deep toxic lagoon, report found.



Fracking may have caused 50 earthquakes in one American state
Fracking may have caused 50 earthquakes in one American state