Green Party representatives Una Power and Sinead Mercier at a protest at the Forty Foot

SANDYCOVE could be affected by offshore oil drilling that would damage local “delicate habitats”, according to local Green Party reps.

Una Power, Green Party Representative for Killiney-Shankill is calling on the government to cease further exploration for fossil fuels off the coast of Dun Laoghaire.

Oil exploration is set to start at Kish Bank, just 10km from Killiney Beach.

“This must be stopped,” Ms Power told the Dublin Gazette.

Providence Resources Plc, the Irish-based Oil and Gas Exploration Company, holds a licence, granted by the  Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment to allow for the planning, consent and drilling of an exploration well on the Kish Prospect.

Ms Power said that it is “incredibly worrying that the Government are continuing to grant licenses to explore for fossil fuels, knowing the challenges Ireland faces in meeting our climate change targets, and the negative environmental and health impacts fossil fuels have”.

“We’re calling on the Government to stop the granting of licenses. Oil exploration is set to start at Kish Bank, just 10km from Killiney Beach – this must be stopped.”

The Green Party introduced the Prohibition of Fossil Fuels (Keep It In the Ground) Bill 2017 last week, which seeks an end to further oil and gas exploration in Irish territory  as the COP23 conference in Bonn continues.

“Day-by-day, we are learning more of the damage that offshore oil and gas exploration is doing to our marine environment – disrupting and destroying vital and delicate habitats and threatening areas crucial to our fisheries, tourism and leisure sectors,” Ms Power added.

“We need to protect our oceans and keep these polluting fossil fuels in the ground.”
Green Party councillor for Dun Laoghaire Ossian Smyth said: “This Dail has already banned fracking for onshore gas, it is now time to take the next step and stop all exploration for oil and gas in our offshore waters.

“Coming a day after Ireland was ranked Europe’s worst performer in tackling climate change and reducing emissions, this Bill presents the Government with an opportunity to make amends.

“The Government talk the talk on climate change – it’s time for them to walk the walk and ensure a just transition to a carbon-free society.”

A spokesperson from the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment told Dublin Gazette that Ireland’s transition to a low carbon energy future will involve “progressively moving to lower emissions fuels”.

This means that the plan is to move initially from peat and coal to natural gas.

“Successful exploration in Ireland’s Offshore has the potential to deliver benefits to Irish society and the economy, particularly in terms of enhanced security of supply and reduced fossil fuel imports, as we transition to a low carbon future.”

Dublin Gazette contacted DLR council but did not receive a response at the time of going to print.

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