Press Release: Environmental organisations welcome recommendation of Oireachtas Committee to ban fracking

Environmental organisations welcome the recommendation of the Oireachtas’ environmental Committee to ban fracking in the Republic of Ireland.

The Environmental Pillar welcomes the decision to support a prohibition on fracking in a report launched by the Joint Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment today.

The Environmental Pillar – a coalition of 26 Irish environmental NGOs – says the decision is the right thing to do to protect our water quality, natural environment and the health and well-being of communities across Ireland.

As a network we are delighted that the Committee’s report can now be added to the mounting global and national peer-reviewed evidence detailing the significant risks and negative impacts associated with unconventional fossil fuel extraction.

A review of the significant evidence from around the world on the risks and dangers of fracking clearly shows that a simple and immediate ban should be introduced in Ireland.

The decision is also an important marker of our commitment to tackling climate change and moving to a sustainable low carbon economy.

The report outlines broad support of the Prohibition of the Exploration and Extraction of Onshore Petroleum Bill 2016 which is due back before the Committee in May.

As such, the Pillar would now like to see the Committee push for the proposed legislation to pass without delay to ensure that fracking and unconventional extraction of fossil fuels can never be a part of our future.

This will allow us to instead fully focus on implementing the renewable energy technologies that are powering us now and will power us into the future.

Aedín McLoughlin, spokesperson for the Environmental Pillar, said:

“We welcome the publication of the report from the Joint Committee, which makes it very clear that the risks associated with fracking are just too significant to ever let the practice take place here.

“With the support of the cross-party Committee in place, it’s now time to crack on and pass the straightforward Bill currently before the Dáil.

 “Fracking is a deeply damaging practice. It damages the climate, the environment, and ultimately communities.

“It has serious potential impacts on water and air quality; its long-term impacts are largely unknown and current regulations are inadequate to ensure good practice in the development of this industry.

“The decision not to pursue fracking in Ireland is needed to protect communities from the damaging impacts of fracking, such as the contamination of water, and to meet our climate change commitments.

“We believe renewable energy, energy savings and a significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions provide the only viable path to an environmentally sustainable and healthy future.

“Exploiting unconventional fossil fuels such as shale gas will only increase the world’s dependency on fossil fuels and consequently slow down the large-scale deployment of clean energy renewables and energy savings.

“This is not compatible with a climate safe future, and is not compatible with our commitments at local, national, European and International levels to stop contributing to climate change.”


Media Contact:  

Aedín McLoughlin

Environmental Pillar Spokesperson

087 238 2324

Niall Sargent

Communications Manager

Environmental Pillar

089 416 0141

Notes for Editor:

Click here to see the Environmental Pillar’s submission to the Public Consultation on Unconventional Gas Exploration and Extraction, sent on 2 February 2017.

The Environmental Pillar has grave concerns about hydraulic fracturing (fracking) of shale gas, shale oil, and coal bed methane (CBM) in Ireland. In particular, because of its impacts in the following areas:

  • Climate: there is no scientific agreement that unconventional gas (such as shale and CBM) will have significantly lower total greenhouse gas emissions compared to other conventional fossil fuels;
  • Energy: development of shale gas and CBM will be at the expense of cheaper and safer policies to save energy and speed up the transition to renewable energy and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions;
  • Water pollution: fracking could cause the contamination of surface and groundwater (including drinking water) with toxic chemicals used in fracking fluids, and increase the concentration in such water of methane and hazardous and radioactive materials that naturally occur in shale and coal;
  • Water use: fracking involves pumping vast amounts of freshwater underground, much of which becomes irretrievable and/or contaminated; because vast quantities of fresh water are required in fracking operations, this will create significant social and environmental pressures at least at a local and regional level, and particularly in regions suffering from water scarcity;
  • Air pollution: Unconventional gas drilling/operations produces soot and smog precursors, particulate matter, methane and natural gas;
  • Soil pollution: fracking carries the risk of leakages from polluted tailing ponds, wastewater and well blowouts;
  • Land use: fracking disrupts the landscape and impacts upon rural and conservation areas;
  • Noise: shale gas development generates noise pollution from equipment and transport that affects local residents, agricultural livestock and wildlife;
  • Seismic activity: fracking increases the risks of earthquakes, which in turn increases the risk of damage to, and leakages from, gas wells;

About the Environmental Pillar

The Environmental Pillar is a national social partner, comprising 26 national environmental organisations.  It works to promote the protection and enhancement of the environment, together with the creation of a viable economy and a just society, without compromising the viability of the planet on which we live for current and future generations of all species and ecosystems. For more information, please see our website.

 Member Organisations of the Environmental Pillar

An Taisce, Bat Conservation Ireland, BirdWatch Ireland, Centre for Environmental Living and Training, Cloughjordan Ecovillage, CoastWatch, Coomhola Salmon Trust, ECO-UNESCO, FEASTA, Forest Friends, Friends of the Earth, Global Action Plan, Gluaiseacht, Good Energies Alliance, Green Foundation Ireland, Green Economy Foundation, Irish Wildlife Trust, Hedge Laying Association of Ireland, Irish Peatland Conservation Council, Irish Seed Savers Association, Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, Native Woodland Trust, Sonairte, Sustainable Ireland Cooperative (Cultivate), The Organic Centre, VOICE, Zero Waste Alliance.