Urgent need for Government to instruct An Bord Pleanála says Bríd Smith TD
Bríd Smith TD (People Before Profit spokesperson on Climate) has called on Climate Action Minister Eamon Ryan to clarify the Government’s position on the acceptance of LNG applications.
This call for clarity comes in the wake of reports last week of the imminent lodgement of an application to build a €650 million liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal and power station in the Shannon Estuary with An Bord Pleanála by US-backed Shannon LNG.
Deputy Smith highlighted the Government’s Policy Statement on the ‘Importation of Fracked Gas’ issued on 18 May 2021, which stated that: “pending the outcome of a review of the security of energy supply of Ireland’s electricity and natural gas systems being carried out by DECC, it would not be appropriate for the development of any LNG terminals in Ireland to be permitted or proceeded with.”
On foot of this policy statement, she understands that the Government was to notify An Bord Pleanála of this new policy statement to ensure that if a planning application for a new LNG facility be received during the period of the energy supply security review, it should not be permitted or proceeded with.
Bríd Smith said: “It is incumbent on Minister Eamon Ryan to now clarify whether his Government has in fact issued a ministerial directive to An Bord Pleanála not to accept or proceed with any applications for LNGs pending the completion of his Department’s energy security review.”
Campaigners have this week claimed that the Department of Housing, which has responsibility for planning matters, has not issued any such directive.
In the event that it has not issued such a directive, Deputy Smith urged that the ministerial directive required to implement the Government’s stated policy position on the importation of Fracked Gas and LNGs be issued to An Bord Pleanála immediately
Deputy Smith said today: “The suspension of all LNGs applications is the very least that a public increasingly concerned about the threat which corporate interests pose to the country’s climate goals is entitled to expect if the government is to maintain any credibility.”
She reminded Minister Ryan that the climate movement understands the significance of any LNG application being lodged at this time and is watching the Green Party in Government.
“At a time when the climate crisis is worsening at a alarming speed, failure by the Green Party to stop a damaging expansion of gas and LNG networks in this state will be a unforgivable betrayal.”