Government expected to withdraw fracking amendment

It’s now expected that a Dail Bill by Sligo/Leitrim Fine Gael TD Tony McLoughlin aimed at banning fracking in Ireland will now pass through all its stages sooner than was thought.

The government had proposed an amendment to the Bill, which would have delayed it getting to its next stage, until next June.

However, it’s now expected that the government amendment will be withdrawn when the Bill is discussed this evening.

The government’s amendment would have had the affect of pausing the Bill until what’s known as the committee stage, which would not have been until June of next year.

There had been fears that the Bill would then be further deferred with the summer break and the possibility that the current government might not even be in existence anymore.

Sligo Leitrim Sinn Fein Deputy Martin Kenny says its was a case of kicking the can further down the road.

He had questioned if Fine Gael was really committed to banning fracking.

It was a sentiment echoed by Sligo/Leitrim Deputy Marc MacSharry of Fianna Fail, which is supporting the government.

However, Deputy MacSharry’s party colleague, Deputy Eamon Scanlon, now believes the government will withdraw its amendment because it faces defeat this evening.

Meanwhile, members of Love Leitrim, which is campaigning against fracking, have been lobbying in the Dail and will be observing what happens this evening.

But spokesman Eddie Mitchell claims the principle of banning fracking has now been accepted: