Reacting to the news that a bill to ban fracking has passed the first stage of approval in the Irish Parliament, Friends of the Earth Scotland Head of Campaigns Mary Church said:

“It is wonderful news that Ireland has voted to ban fracking today. The Irish Parliament has decided that the risks of opening up a new frontier of dirty fossil fuels are just too great. 

“This Bill is the result of years of grassroots campaigning, with people across the country raising awareness of the many dangers of the fracking industry and forcing their representatives to act.


“Support for fracking across the UK is at an all time low. People just don't want this dirty, dangerous industry. We are confident that when the Scottish people are given a chance to have their say in the forthcoming Government consultation, the answer will be a resounding 'no' to fracking.”


The private members bill to ban onshore unconventional oil and gas extraction was put forward by Fine Gael backbench TD Tony McLoughlin. It cites international and national climate commitments, the precautionary principle and protecting groundwater as the key reasons to ban fracking.


Earlier this week a report by the Sustainable Water Network was published highlighting the many threats posed to Ireland’s waters by the fracking process, wastewater discharges and leaking and abandoned wells. The report recommended banning fracking to protect Ireland's water. 


Notes to Editors


The Dáil unanimously passed the Bill and agreed to send it to Committee Stage. Details of the Prohibition of the Exploration and Extraction of Onshore Petroleum Bill 2016 are at http://www.oireachtas.ie/viewdoc.asp?DocID=33136&&CatID=59 


The Sustainable Water Network report 'Hydraulic Fracturing ─ Interactions with the Water Framework Directive & Groundwater Directive and Implications for the Status of Ireland’s Waters' is at http://www.swanireland.ie/download/resources/swan_reports,_consultation_responses,_presentations_&_other_material/Hydraulic-Fracturing-Water-Report-for-SWAN.pdf 


The Scottish Government has a moratorium on onshore oil and gas extraction including shale gas fracking and coalbed methane. It has commissioned a number of studies on climate, health, economic, seismic and transport impacts which are expected to be published soon. A public consultation will be held in winter 2016/17 http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Business-Industry/Energy/onshoreoilandgas 


The UK Government’s public attitude survey today revealed that support for fracking had fallen to its lowest ever level (17% of those questioned) whereas opposition to the controversial practice has reached it highest level (33%). https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/oct/27/uk-public-support-for-fracking-falls-to-lowest-level 


Friends of the Earth Scotland is

* Scotland's leading environmental campaigning organisation

* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland

* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 75 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups.