A ban on fracking goes before the Dáil this week – let your TD know #BackTheBill

October 24th, 2016

Fracking is a risk to Ireland’s water supplies and is opposed all over the country. And this Thursday our TDs will get to vote on banning the controversial practice.

Despite the fact that many Irish political parties claim to oppose fracking it is not clear whether the Bill will pass.

Friends of the Earth Ireland are calling on everyone to contact their local TD and ask them to ban fracking. You can do this through the Friends of the Earth website. 

Fianna Fáil, the Green Party, the Labour Party, People Before Profit, and Sinn Féin have all expressed opposition to fracking but now they need to show us they meant it.

The bill to ban fracking is being brought to the Dáil by backbench Fine Gael TD Tony McLoughlin who represents Sligo-Leitrim – two counties most at risk from fracking.

Today a study is being launched that reveals that Ireland’s water sources are at risk from fracking.

In 2011 three shale gas exploration licences were granted in the counties of Leitrim/Sligo, Cavan and Clare. The report found that the shale gas in the areas where licences were granted was significantly shallower than other places where fracking has taken place.

In Ireland the gas is at 1,000m below the surface rather than 2,000m to 4,000m in other countries. The authors of the report found this to be significant because it means the fracking would be taking place close to where freshwater aquifer are.

Kieran Craven one of the reports authors told the Sunday Times: “At 1,000m you are only 800m from freshwater aquifers. An aquifer is where the water is stored that we use on the surface.

“The very process of hydraulic fracturing is that you break the rock so if those fractures you create extend to the water body or intersect with other natural faults that extend to the water body you are creating a pathway for contaminants to move from the target area into the freshwater aquifer.” he said.

The conclusion of the report was that fracking should not be permitted if Ireland is to meet EU requirements on water protection.  The report was commissioned by the Sustainable Water Network, a coalition of Irish NGOs working in the area of water and catchments.

There is currently a temporary ban on test drilling and fracking until the government receives a study from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the potential impact it can have on human health and the environment. The first part of the report is due to be completed some time this year.

 Click here to read the Report in full

Click here to visit the Friends of the Earth Ireland website and contact your TD

About the Author

Ian Carey

Ian is the editor of the Green News. He works as Communications Manger with the Irish Environmental Network.

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