Minister Niall Collins has defied his Green party colleagues and backed the construction of the proposed Shannon LNG in north Kerry.
The new liquefied natural gas receiving terminal would be a stone’s throw away from the Fianna Fáil TD’s Limerick constituency but the Minister of State’s support has raised eyebrows in the Green party.
Senator Pauline O’Reilly, Green party Chairman, described supportive statements about the project as “very worrying” but in an interview with Newstalk Breakfast, Minister Collins said it “makes sense”:
“I feel given the changed circumstances of the world that we’re now living in - with the whole situation in relation to Ukraine - energy security has now come into real sharp focus,” he explained.
“It’s pretty much a shovel ready project - subject to planning approval which is expected in early September.
“If it gets the green light through the planning process, the promoters of the project have made a very strong case to the local community, they’ve made a very strong presentation to public representatives in the area.”
'Makes us more dependent on international markets'
However, the project has horrified environmentalists; William Hederman from Climate Camp Ireland said the new terminal would be bad for the planet and would do nothing to help with the current cost of living crisis:
“It also won’t bring energy prices down,” he said.
“We’re still going to be dependent on global markets and building an LNG terminal makes us more dependent on international markets… because it creates fossil fuel lock-in.
“It delays the introduction of renewables and all the other measures that we need.
“For energy security we need renewables and we need reduced demand. We need to stop building data centres and we need to radically rethink how we organise society.”
The Government is currently carrying out a review into the energy sector and a spokesman for Environment Minister Eamon Ryan told the Irish Times that until it is completed he would not support the development of any further LNG terminals.
Main image: A gas terminal. Picture by: Alamy.com