Taoiseach says Ireland to phase out oil exploration off coast

Varadkar says action being taken following advice from Climate Advisory Council

Ireland is to phase out oil exploration off coast.

Ireland is to phase out oil exploration off coast.


The Government is to phase out oil exploration off the coast of Ireland, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has announced.

Speaking ahead of Monday’s climate summit in New York, Mr Varadkar said that a decision had been made to stop oil exploration off the coast of Ireland, though gas exploration will be continued.

Standing alongside Minister for Climate Action Richard Bruton, the Taoiseach said the Government had received advice from the Climate Advisory Council which has recommend to change the policy when it comes to exploration.

“Recognising that we end exploration for oil in Irish waters, we will continue to explore for natural gas given that it’s a transition fuel that we are going to need for the next few decades, as new technologies are developed and deployed.”

He said Ireland would be one of the few countries in the world to make the decision to start phasing out exploration for oil, because of its commitments to achieve carbon neutrality. He also noted that the decision was made on the basis of scientific advice from the advisory council which is chaired by Professor John Fitzgerald.

His comments come after the Government announced it would be ring-fencing funding from a carbon tax for climate policies.

“Any extra money raised from carbon tax will be ploughed back into climate action”, he said, including retrofitting, renewable energy and greener farming.

Mr Varadkar will address the climate summit later on Monday.

He also said he was disappointed that US president Donald Trump will not attend the summit.

Instead the US president is addressing a conference on religious freedom, also in the UN complex.

“I think it’s disappointing that President Trump isn’t attending the climate conference today… it would be better if the president of America, the country the world looks to for leadership, attended what is the most important event of the day,” he said.