Irish Cattle & Sheep Association welcomes ban on fracking, “Fracking offers no tangible benefits to landowners or rural communities. It provides no upside for farmers but potentially a lot of downside….”

Farming association welcomes ban on fracking by Ronan Dodd, 10 Jun 2017, Tipperary Star

ICSA president Patrick Kent has welcomed news that the Bill banning fracking in Ireland has now passed through all stages of the Dáil.

Commenting on the impending ban, Mr Kent said: “Fracking offers no tangible benefits to landowners or rural communities. It provides no upside for farmers but potentially a lot of downside in terms of our clean, green food image. Instead, we need the Government to strongly favour renewable energy sources which can bring multiple benefits to farmers, the environment and to rural communities while also helping the economy and climate change objectives.”

Mr Kent said that in practical terms, it meant Government support for sustainable biofuels across Europe, anaerobic digestion in Ireland and sensible policies to give certainty to plans for solar farms.

There was a compelling case to support the use of biofuels from crops grown in Europe which also provide very positive benefits in terms of animal feeds as a by-product.

He said ICSA was fighting for a smart approach to agriculture policy which provided farmers with multiple income sources including benefitting from renewables.

Republic of Ireland,fracking ban welcomed by Meadhbh Monahan, June 9, 2017, Impartial Reporter

… Sligo-Leitrim Fine Gael TD Tony McLoughlin described the passing of his Bill through the Irish Parliament as “a major moment for politics.”

The legislation now passes to the Seanad and is expected to be passed before the summer recess. The Republic would then join France, Germany and Bulgaria in banning hydraulic fracturing on land.

Meanwhile, in Northern Ireland, fracking is still permitted.

Fracking company Tamboran Resources attempted to drill an exploratory borehole near Belcoo in 2014 but were met with strong local opposition. The Australian company believes that County Fermanagh “is home to a significant natural gas resource that could provide Northern Ireland with decades of a local secure energy supply.”

Friends of the Earth have branded the development in the Republic of Ireland as “a great victory for local campaigners who have mobilised and educated themselves, their communities and their elected representatives on the threat fracking poses to local water, regional employment and global climate.”

During the Bill’s fifth stage in the Dáil on May 31, Deputy McLoughlin said: “The vast amount of research against fracking and in support of the need for this prohibition is clear and unequivocal. It includes more than 500 academic studies on geographical areas in the United States and Europe; the Sustainable Water Network Ireland research report which found that fracking poses a substantial risk to Irish rivers and lakes; and the findings of the Environmental Protection Agency’s report into hydraulic fracking in Ireland. The Concerned Health Professionals of Ireland group has also supported the Bill, noting that the ‘scientific evidence overwhelmingly shows that permitting fracking in Ireland and Northern Ireland would pose significant threats to the air, water and the health of individuals and communities here.’”

Anti-fracking campaign group, Love Leitrim – which has lobbied hard against fracking in Leitrim, Sligo and Fermanagh – stated: “This is a significant day in the campaign and one that Love Leitrim have been working towards for the past six years. All parties in the Dáil were in agreement that fracking should not take place on the island of Ireland.

“The group will continue to support a push for an all-out prohibition of fracking in Ireland.”
Friends of the Earth Ireland’s Deputy Director, Kate Ruddock, said: “All around the world communities are campaigning to keep fossil fuels in the ground and to put citizens at the heart of a new, clean energy system.

“This victory is a tribute to their solidarity.”

Sinn Féin MLA Jemma Dolan welcomed the Bill’s passage through the Dáil but said “the battle against fracking goes on.” She called for a similar ban in Northern Ireland and stated: “It is no good if fracking is banned in Leitrim but allowed here in neighbouring Fermanagh.”

A spokesman for Fermanagh Fracking Awareness Network said: “More work needs to be done to ensure fracking is also banned in Northern Ireland.” [Emphasis added]

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