Political parties propose legislation
In response to the “very worrying developments occurring in Northern Ireland with regard to fracking”, Tony McLoughlin, Fine Gael T.D. for Sligo – Leitrim, submitted a Private Members Bill to the Dáil in May 2016 which he hoped would result in the prohibiting of the exploration and extraction of petroleum from shale rock, tight sands and coal seams in the Irish onshore and Ireland’s internal waters.
“As a T.D. for counties which would be decimated if fracking was allowed to occur, I want to see action on this issue by the new Government”
“The decision process with relation to formulating Government policy on fracking has gone on too long in my opinion and we now are in a position where we need to take action on the issue”.
“There is clear evidence already in the public domain about the damaging effects of this practice of extraction”. “We are also aware that the basin in Ireland is too shallow for it to be conducted safely and without damage to the environment”.
“Several Common Law Jurisdictions, similar to our own, have already taken legislative steps to ban the practice”. “I now want Ireland and this Government to follow this international trend and quickly”.
“There are some very worrying developments occurring in Northern Ireland with regard to fracking, which both Sinn Féin or the DUP have not been able to prevent”. “I do not want to see a similar situation occur in this State”.
“With regard to the Private Members Bill I am submitting, I have received technical advice as to the wording of this Bill from experts in the field, which will hopefully enable it to pass through the pre-legislative scrutiny element very quickly”.
“I have also written to the new Minister for Communications, Climate Change and Natural Resources, Denis Naughton T.D. to suggest to him to consider implementing this legislation which would prohibiting fracking from occurring in the Republic of Ireland”.
Fine Gael was not the only party who proposed to ban fracking. Two other Private Members Bills proposing to ban fracking, were submitted by Michael Colreavy (Sinn Féin) and by Richard Boyd Barrett (People Before Profit).
In October 2016, due to new rules set by the new minority government, all private members bills went into a “lottery”. Tony McLoughlin’s Bill was drawn! On Thursday 27th October, this daft Bill was debated on the floor of the Oireachtas chamber. All parties were in support of banning fracking, although many were not happy that the ban did not extend to the offshore. At the end of the debate the Bill passed to the 2nd stage with a unanimous vote in favour.