Sligo Council retains fracking ban in its County Development Plan

Sligo County Councillors have unanimously decided to retain a ban on fracking in their County Development Plan.

They made the decision this morning despite a recommendation from the council chief executive than the ban be omitted from the plan.

Councillors are meeting today to discuss the chief executive’s responses to 176 submissions which the council received in relation to a proposed new County Development Plan for 2017 to 2023.

One of those submissions was in relation to fracking from the Department of Local Government.

It advised that in view of ongoing research, and legislation going through the Oireachtas which is expected to ban fracking, a county council policy prohibiting fracking may be premature.

The Northern and Regional Assembly had also said the ban might be outside the authority of the council and should not be included in the county development plan.

Councillors were also told a moratorium on fracking remains in place at present.

Council Chief Executive Kieran Hayes said there are times when there is a conflict between the requirements of national government and local government and this is one of those times.

After all councillors indicated their opposition to fracking, Mr Hayes suggested that the motion councillors should be proposing be to reject the recommendation that the ban be removed from the development plan.
In the end, councillors agreed to a motion from Independent Councillor Michael Clarke, seconded by Independent Cllr Margaret Gormley rejecting the recommendation to omit the ban.

Councillors also agreed to a motion from Independent Councillor Declan Bree, seconded by Independent Gino O Boyle, that the ban on fracking be retained in the development plan.

Afterward, Cllr Bree gave his reaction to Ocean FM News: