Harkin Urges Adoption Of European Parliament Decision On Fracking

Following her support for a vote in the European Parliament to request EU member states not to authorise any new fracking operations, Independent MEP Marian Harkin called for all local authorities in Ireland to provide for such a ban in their County Development Plans, based on the precautionary principle.

Speaking in the European Parliament after a vote on the mid-term review of the EU’s Biodiversity Strategy, Marian Harkin said that the precautionary principle adopted needed to be applied as the least that the citizens in the areas concerned deserved.

She continued:- “I am delighted that today the European Parliament urged Member States not to authorise any new fracking operations in the EU. This call was made on the basis of the precautionary principle and on the gaps identified in EU legislation. We said that we need to take account of the risks and the negative climate, environmental and biodiversity impacts involved in fracking. 55% of MEPs supported this view and indeed I was a little surprised to find myself somewhat in conflict with my colleagues in Sligo County Council who yesterday voted not to ban fracking in their draft development plan – unlike their colleagues in Leitrim County Council.

“I know it’s just a draft plan, that can be changed, and that the Council’s Chief Executive Officer, Ciaran Hayes has given assurance that there will be a provision to ban fracking in the Plan. Hopefully today’s vote in the European Parliament will have some influence on the eventual outcome. We have currently no immediate prospect that fracking will be permitted in the exploration areas south of the border, due to the decline in oil and gas prices, but it would be good practice for all Local Authorities to adopt the precautionary principle as advised by the European Parliament”, Independent MEP Marian Harkin concluded.

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