20 January, 2012
A Public Inquiry is needed.
That's the best way of addressing people's concerns about the proposal by Providence Resources to look for oil just a few kilometres of Ireland's East Coast, quite close to Dalkey.
I had a read of the 1933 Foreshore Act, and it is clear that Phil Hogan as Minister for the Environment, Communities and Local Government can hold an Inquiry under Section 3 (9) of the Act. It states:
"Whenever an application is made to the Minister for the grant of a licence under this section, the Minister may, if he thinks fit, hold a public inquiry in regard to the granting of such licence."
Eamon Gilmore's colleague Pat Rabbitte has already granted Providence Resources an Exploration License, now the company needs a Foreshore License. Ideally both of these processes should be joined together in an integrated manner, and the 1933 Act is looking rather dated at this stage, but in an imperfect world it makes sense to let all sides argue their case in a public forum, rather than let the Minister decide matters behind closed doors.
I've met with my colleague Tom Kivlehan, who is from Ballybrack, and is our new Planning Spokesperson and we've agreed that an Inquiry is the best way to address the issue.
Dublin Bay is a lot smaller than the Gulf of Mexico, and if something were to go wrong it could immediately affect the flora, fauna and coastline along the East Coast.
On the other hand we need oil and gas to take us through the transition to a low carbon economy, and we can't simply outsource all our oil and gas needs to countries and communities in far away places. That having been said the proposed drilling site is a lot closer to Dalkey than the Kish Lighthouse, and that's pretty damn close.
Have a look at the Foreshore Licensing Application and supporting documentation on the Department's website and decide for yourself.
You can write to Phil Hogan c/o Customs House urging him to do this, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oh, and while you're at it, maybe you'd sign the online petition over here: