An Bord Pleanála rejects planning permission for Shannon LNG terminal

Michelle Hayes
Limerick solicitor Michelle Hayes

THE decision by An Bord Pleanála to refuse planning permission for a €650million liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal and power station on the Shannon Estuary in Ballylongford in North Kerry has been described as “a disaster” for Ireland’s energy security.

According to An Bord Pleanála, the decision was based on Government policy on the importation of fracked gas, adding that it would be inappropriate to permit or proceed with the development of any LNG terminals in Ireland pending the review of energy supply.

However, Rural Ireland Independent TD Richard O’Donoghue told the Limerick Post that he believes this decision is not just short-sighted but a disaster for our energy security.

“The reality is that we urgently need an LNG terminal to ensure a consistent energy supply, especially during periods of low renewable energy production. This planning outcome, driven by the Government’s energy policy, will have a detrimental impact on our national economy and the electricity bills of everyone,” Deputy O’Donoghue insisted.

“This decision, heavily influenced by the Green Party within the Government, has left us perilously dependent on the UK for our gas supply, marking a significant setback for our energy needs. Ireland is now the only Western EU nation without an LNG storage facility, and this decision could have dire consequences,” he warned.

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Environmental Trust Ireland made its submission opposing the development as far back as October 2021 on the LNG terminal and said it is delighted with the outcome.

The development, if permitted, would have consisted of power plant, battery energy storage system, floating storage and regasification unit, jetty, onshore receiving facilities, above ground installation, and all ancillary structures/works.

“It is a good day for the environment, for Ireland, for climate justice,  for biodiversity, for reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and for the communities in the United States and other countries where fracking occurs,” said Environmental Trust Ireland President and Limerick solicitor Michelle Hayes.

This is the second major environmental success by Environmental Trust Ireland (ETI) in the last few months.

In May this year, Environmental Trust Ireland was successful in quashing the expansion of the Aughinish red mud residue area and quarry.

The organisation’s president, solicitor Michelle Hayes, is currently back before the Court of Appeal in her own name challenging the Irish Cement incinerator decision, which was part heard in July and is to resume in November.

An Bord Pleanála agreed with Environmental Trust Ireland’s submission that the application by Shannon LNG was premature.

ETI had referred to the major energy review taking place, which is still not completed, and had submitted “that An Bord Pleanala is precluded from granting planning permission as the requirement for meaningful public participation in the decision process cannot currently be met until such point as the results of the energy review are known”.

“An Bord Pleanala was not in a position to make an informed decision on this project, which is clearly not a stand alone project, in the absence of complete information on the separate related projects identified by the applicant,” the ETI claimed.