Almost a decade on from becoming the first local authority in the country to introduce a ban on fracking, Clare County Council has now called on the Government to introduce a global ban.
Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a controversial technique to extract natural gas from shale. In January 2012, Clare County Council became the first local authority to agree to put in place a ban on fracking in its county development plan, a move backed by all thirty two councillors at the time.
More recently, a motion from Cllr Pat Hayes (FF), Cllr Cillian Murphy (FF) and Cllr Tony O’Brien (FF) was passed by the local authority seeking the Government “to put forward a global ban on fracking being proposed by Ireland at the United Nations General Assembly on climate-mitigation, public-health, environmental-protection and human-rights grounds”.
Cllr Hayes who was the Cathaoirleach in 2012 expressed his hope that the Council would be “to the fore in promoting environmental challenges to the world”.
Public health issues such as cancer, mental health and asthma are linked to fracking, Cllr Murphy claimed. “In 2017 Ireland became the fourth European country and EU member to ban onshore fracking, in 2018 Ireland became first country to fully divest money from fossil fuels, in 2020 the Programme for Government Ireland became first country in the world to say it would not support fracked gas, long before that in 2012 this Council spoke up”.
Recalling the tense meetings in the past decade, Cllr Johnny Flynn (FG) detailed, “back in 2011 I became aware of the risk of licences being issued to extract shaled gas from Miltown to Kildysart which is about a quarter of our county, I then put down a motion asking that Clare County Council ban fracked gas in our county, I was delighted in 2012 when it was written into the County Development Plan”.
He warned of a national security issue, “our energy storage and grid capacity nearly failed twelve times last year. We do need energy security”.