Dáil debates

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Development of a Liquefied Natural Gas Facility in Ireland: Statements


2:00 pm

Photo of Catherine MurphyCatherine Murphy (Kildare North, Social Democrats) | Oireachtas source

We banned fracking in this country after significant public and political debate. The argument was clear. Fracking is a dirty way of obtaining gas and we agreed that on public health and environmental grounds its impacts were too serious to ignore. We do not even know the full environmental consequences of fracking, yet we face the prospect of gas that has been obtained by this method becoming available here. We are not okay with fracking in our own back yard but we have no problem with the environmental damage being done in another country and we will actively support that. This is an example of double standards.

The 2015 White Paper on Energy set out a roadmap for the State to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by between 80% and 95% by 2050. How can the Minister realistically hope to achieve that target by importing fracked gas which will increase emissions when burned? That approach does not make sense. In reply to a parliamentary question on this subject late last year, the Minister tried to keep his hands clean by telling me the Government's stated aim was to move from a fossil fuel based system. The LNG project was, he said, a private commercial project and decisions were the concern of the parties involved. That ignores the point that the importation of this gas fundamentally undermines all the stated climate plans to which the Department pays lipservice. I am not the only Deputy who has been inundated with correspondence from constituents expressing dismay about this. I am sure the same applies to the Minister. This is not the last time we will hear from people who are active and keeping a very close eye on this issue and other issues on climate.

The proposed LNG deal, like the Government's flawed national development plan, does not take account of the declaration of the climate emergency. It is proof positive that this Government is happy to greenwash for media purposes but environmental actions are severely lacking in the trade-off between Fine Gael choosing between big business and the environment. Big business cannot always win. We have one planet and we cannot differentiate between it and some notional corporate planet. This issue must be viewed in that context.

As previous speakers stated, there is no mandate to sign this deal. We cannot be critical of what happened in the UK when parliament was ignored, while doing exactly the same here. I hope the Minister will pay close attention to what Deputies have said.


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