Licence to drill off Dalkey draws fire

by Gazette Reporter
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Councillor Cormac Devlin

THERE was strong condemnation by local politicians and environmental groups to the granting of a foreshore licence to Providence Resources to drill 6km off the Dublin coast early next year, despite repeated calls for a public enquiry into the plan.

The decision to grant the licence was opposed by heritage group An Taisce, which said damage to marine life was possible, and local group Save Our Seafront, led by Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett (PBP), who said the decision had been made without due consideration of a range of issues.

Earlier this year, Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan refused to grant a public enquiry into the licence application, despite a petition with 4,100 signatures, as well as 700 proposals received through a public consultation process.

Councillor Cormac Devlin (FF) is calling on Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore to back local demands for a public enquiry into the Providence drilling plan off the Dalkey coast.

He said: “I said originally that this was of paramount importance – this was when the licence was being sought.

“A public enquiry is a must, as far as I’m concerned. The environmental issue is of paramount importance, and is of huge concern because the drilling is so close to the shore, which is unprecedented.

“We need to look at our Government representatives in the constituency, as they have a lot of sway they can use. They need to speak up for people as the public needs to have a say in order to raise their concerns in a proper forum.”

But Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, Jan O’Sullivan, who is responsible for granting the licence, said she was satisfied that it “would not have a significant negative impact on the marine environment”.

She went on to say that it was “In the public interest to grant the foreshore licence, having regard to the nature of the proposal”.

The Dalkey prospect’s yield estimates are around 250 million barrels of recoverable oil.

In a statement from Providence Resources, a spokesperson told The Gazette: “We have invited a number of groups and individuals to come in and meet with us to discuss the project and have received constructive and positive feedback.

“We continue to remain open to approaches to discuss any aspect of our proposals with us and encourage anyone with any concerns to speak to us directly.

“We would like to reassure all interested parties that rigorous environmental and health and safety standards form a vital part of our ethos, and detailed proposals on environmental mitigation measures and safety procedures have been submitted as part of this application.”

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