Limerick TD backs Shannon Estuary natural gas project 

Limerick Rural Independent TD Richard O'Donoghue

WITH the country heading into an unprecedented energy crisis, one Limerick politician believes there is an urgent need for the  €650m Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project on the Shannon Estuary to be brought back into the political debate.

Rural Ireland Independent TD Richard O’Donoghue pointed out to the Limerick Post this week that Ireland is the only country in Europe with a coastline that does not have a Liquid Natural Gas import facility.

As part of an agreement with its coalition partners, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, the Green Party was given assurances that the LNG venture planned by New Fortress Energy at Ballylongford would not proceed under the lifetime of the current Government.

A decision from An Bord Pleanála on the LNG receiving terminal was due today (Friday) but  was postponed to allow public scrutiny of a 275-page response from New Fortress Energy on the need for the plant in the context of national and European energy security.

An Bord Pleanála has not set a new date for the decision but that it would be made as is practicable.

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Deputy O’Donoghue said that if the project had gone ahead when it was first proposed, it would now be providing an alternative option to gas pipelines from the UK.

“The Government, however, chose not to have LNG, despite natural gas providing over 50 per cent of the electricity in Ireland, according to statistics from EirGrid. The situation of the Shannon LNG must be brought to the foremost of the political agenda,” Deputy O’Donoghue declared.

He also takes the view that Ireland is the worst prepared country in Europe in regards the imminent energy scarcity situation.

“Ireland also has no gas storage, with the Kinsale gas field depleted. The Government had the option to use that field as a gas store, by pumping gas in during the summer months when demand was low, ensuring that a secure backstop was available in case of crisis. Instead, the storage infrastructure was allowed to be dismantled, underlining its utter lack of strategic planning.

“I moved a Dáil motion earlier this year, aimed at addressing Ireland’s lack of energy security, especially in the event of the crisis that is now upon us, and it fell on deaf ears. This Government don’t listen, and that’s the problem with them, and one that’s going to cost us all so dearly this Winter,” he concluded.

The Dáil resumes on Wednesday, September 14 after its summer recess.