Dáil debates

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Development of a Liquefied Natural Gas Facility in Ireland: Statements


1:40 pm

Photo of Bríd SmithBríd Smith (Dublin South Central, People Before Profit Alliance) | Oireachtas source

I thank the Business Committee for allowing this debate to take place. There is a certain irony in the fact that the people to my left in Fianna Fáil voted against holding this debate earlier in the week. I am glad that some of them at least are being positive about what we are trying to achieve here, namely, expose the horrors of the Government signing off without proper understanding or knowledge of the positions of Deputies, Senators and the Climate Change Advisory Council itself. The council, by the way, is made up mostly of economists with very few scientists sitting with them. There is not one climate scientist on the council, which represents a problem from the get-go if that is where our advice is coming from. I thank the 30 Irish and US organisations and individuals who have written to the Taoiseach and the Department, including actor Mark Ruffalo, film maker Michael Moore, and the chief of the Powhatan Renape Indian nations, Dwayne Perry. I hope they will be listened to.

There should be no mystery about whether Shannon LNG will be about fracked gas, but there appeared to be when the Taoiseach said it could be any kind of gas. That is absolutely not the case. New Fortress Energy, the company that owns the project, has stated this explicitly. It told its shareholders, potential investors and the Security and Exchange Commission in the USA that it is going to be fracked gas. Further, the Pennsylvania EPA tells us clearly in its annual report that the bulk of gas from the state comes from unconventional wells. I have a map on which the blue lines represent fracked gas and the green lines represent conventional gas. What is coming out of North America is fracked gas and the company doing the LNG deal in Shannon makes no bones about that. Why, then, does the Taoiseach seek to obfuscate? It is for the same reason the Government did not want us to have this debate in the first place.

I refer to the idea that there is environmental vandalism in energy security. It is important to understand that this is a ruse to justify the continued reliance on and support for fossil fuels by the Minister and Department. Shannon LNG, Cork LNG and the reverse-flow interconnector are not essential to our energy security. We have enough gas for the time being and we have two interconnectors, not one, to Britain and Europe. Therefore, LNGs are not essential to our energy security. Rather, they are essential to those forces that want to profit from the continued use of fossil fuels, in particular fracked gas. The only avenue to secure energy security after Corrib and Kinsale is the legislation about which the Minister spoke last night. That legislation should be brought before the House next week to allow massive investment in offshore renewable energy development to take place. Imagine what we could do with Shannon as a hub for renewables. Imagine what we could do with the Port of Cork as a hub for renewables. The Minister referred to the wind not blowing but I doubt there is a single day when the wind does not blow off the west coast of Ireland. We can destroy the use of fossil fuel in Ireland if we approach it systemically and with the will of the people.

The context of this debate is important. The west of Ireland is hunkering down because of Storm Lorenzo. We have seen extreme weather conditions all year across the planet. The CO2 and methane we are pumping out will ensure that rapid destruction will continue for decades. We need a commitment from the Minister today that this project of common interest will not include the Shannon LNG until it is scrutinised next week and the House gets a chance to vote on it.


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