"The Government have clearly sent the message to Shell, ‘you can do whatever you want’. Fortunately due to protest, the refinery remains unconnected to the gas field. If, as Shell planned, gas had been flowing by now, we would potentially all be dealing with a gas leak and explosion.”
THE GREEN Party has called on Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan to hold a public inquiry into plans to carry out a seismic survey and drill for oil off Dalkey Island near Dalkey, Co Dublin.
Dublin-based Providence Resources, which is run by Tony O’Reilly jnr, and Star Energy Oil and Gas Ltd, hold an option over eight “blocks” in the Kish Bank Basin and are now seeking a foreshore licence to establish whether oil or gas is present in commercial quantities.
But Green Party spokesman on planning Tom Kivlehan said: “There are huge concerns among the people of Dublin about the proposed application and they feel that the process does not afford them the opportunity to have their questions and worries answered.”
Given that Dublin Bay is such an environmentally sensitive area, he said only a public inquiry could address their fears.
“We have seen the consequences of poor public consultation in respect of the Corrib gas field and we should learn the lessons from it,” Mr Kivlehan added.
He said the Minister had the power to order a public inquiry into Providence’s application under section 3 of the 1933 Foreshore Act and should now do so “as quickly as possible”.
The foreshore application is currently available for inspection at Dalkey Garda station, with February 2nd as the closing date for submissions.
It is believed An Taisce and Birdwatch Ireland will be making their views known, along with Dalkey Community Council.
The foreshore licence being sought by Providence and its Malaysian partners is for a seismic survey, a site survey and exploration drilling.
If awarded, the initial surveys would “likely take in the region of 15 days, followed by 30 to 60 days for drilling” within six months.
“All of the activities to be undertaken will be at a significant distance from any designated areas of environmental or ecological interest, with the nearest special protection area for birds 8km away and the nearest special area of conservation 7km away,” they say.
“Rigorous environmental and health and safety standards form a vital part of the company’s ethos and, as part of this application, detailed proposals on environmental mitigation measures and safety procedures have been submitted to the Department of Environment,” the companies added.
These included an oil spill contingency plan. Full details of the foreshore licence application are available online at iti.ms/zVV3By