The Sisters of Our Lady of Apostles (Irish Province) welcomes the announcement by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil that they accept that it does not make sense to construct a liquid natural gas import terminal on the Shannon Estuary. We also welcome their stated openness to introducing a ban on offshore gas exploration.

It does not makes sense for the Irish State to engage in new large-scale fossil fuel infrastructure as we endeavour to move towards carbon neutrality, as both Leo Varadkar and Mícheal Martin have jointly stated in their letter to Eamon Ryan, leader of the Green Party.  We also wish to acknowledge the important step taken by the Green Party in supporting this cause, and including this matter in their seventeen questions to Fianna Fail and Fine Gael to establish a baseline for government formation talks.

The OLA Sisters have supported the effort to oppose the establishment of a liquid natural gas (LNG) terminal in the Shannon Estuary, which would import fracked gas from the USA – a form of gas extraction that has been banned in Ireland. 

Fracking not only causes serious damage to the local environment in which it is undertaken, it also releases significant levels of methane gas which are a highly damaging green house gas. The latest peer-reviewed scientific studies have found that one third of the total increased methane emissions from all sources globally, over the past decade, is coming from US fracked gas (shale gas). Furthermore, methane emissions are accelerating global warming by absorbing 87 times more heat than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period. Scientists informed the Irish Parliamentary Committee on Climate Action in October that importing US fracked gas into Ireland has a carbon-equivalent footprint of at least 44 percent greater than importing coal over the full life-cycle.    

The OLA Irish Province is one of over a hundred signatories to the petition to call on any new programme for government to include the following statement:

“The new Government is not supportive of new fossil fuel infrastructure in the form of LNG import terminals that could facilitate the entry of unconventional liquefied natural gas into the Irish energy mix. Such imports may create a functional interdependence between Irish energy consumption and global warming due to the high levels of non-territorial methane emissions linked to the exploitation of global shale gas resources.”

We hope that all other political parties and independents will commit to the opposition to LNG and fracked gas, so that whoever forms the next Irish Government protects our common home, the earth.

You can read the full petition letter here: LNG Energy Policy Statement in new Irish Programme for Government