UK drilling decision does not extend to North, says Attwood
The decision by the UK Government to give fracking the go-ahead does not extend to Northern Ireland, the North’s Minister for the Environment, Alex Attwood, has said.
Mr Attwood said power to allow for fracking is devolved to the Northern Ireland Assembly and not to the London government.
Tamboran Resources, an Australian-based unconventional gas company, has identified a Border area in south Fermanagh and north Leitrim where it estimates there is 3.2 trillion cubic feet of gas.
Reacting to the decision of the London government to allow fracking to resume in Great Britain, Mr Attwood said there would be no “headlong rush in to fracking” in the North.
He said no planning application had been received to frack in Co Fermanagh and he held out the possibility of there being a public inquiry before any fracking starts.
Mr Attwood is among the politicians who is sceptical about the claims made by supporters of fracking.
The Minister for Energy, Pat Rabbitte ,said he noted the UK decision, but it had “no implications for the Irish approach”.
The Government has charged the Environmental Protection Agency with carrying a comprehensive study of the risks involved.
That report is not likely to be completed until 2014 and no fracking will be allowed in the Republic in the meantime.
Tamboran said it noted with interest the UK decision and that all three major UK parties, the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and the Labour Party backed fracking as long as it is regulated.
Leitrim’s only TD, Michael Colreavy, said he was “dismayed” by the British government decision.