Dalkey meeting told of drilling concerns


TÁNAISTE EAMON Gilmore said it was important to distinguish between the current application for exploratory drilling in Dublin Bay and a commercial extraction application, he told a public meeting in Dalkey, Co Dublin, last night.

More than 300 people attended a meeting in the town to discuss a proposal for oil and gas exploration which would involve drilling in the sea some 6km off the coast at Dalkey Island.

Providence and its Malaysian partner is seeking the licence to establish whether oil or gas is present in commercial quantities.

The meeting was organised by Dalkey Community Council and Dalkey Business Group to help residents to make a submission to the public consultation which closes on February 2nd, council chairman Dr Susan McDonnell said.

Mr Gilmore, a Labour TD for Dún Laoghaire, said if a find were made, the company would need to make a separate application. In that case there would clearly be some issues such as proximity to the shoreline and special environmental areas, he said.

Local politicians called on Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan to hold a public inquiry into the application.

Dún Laoghaire People before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said he was “absolutely opposed” to the application and there should “at the very least” be a public inquiry into the matter, he said.

Local Fianna Fáil councillor Cormac Devlin said there had been a “massive amount” of queries from the public, the biggest one being the proximity of the drilling to the shore.

Providence did not send a representative to speak at the meeting. In a statement yesterday the company said it had been in contact with locals and was open to anyone to make an appointment to meet with it. It said the exploration is at a “relatively early stage” and the licence was required “for exploratory activity only”.