independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Bono's wife leads gold coast locals in oil protest

Ali Hewson claims exploration will impact on the environment

Bono's wife, activist Ali Hewson, doesn't want oil drilling to go ahead off the Dalkey/Killiney coast in South County Dublin because it would spoil the area.

The fashion brand owner, whose house overlooks Killiney Bay, has voiced her concerns about the impact the proposed drilling off the south Dublin coast will have on the environment.

Describing the atmosphere in her home village ahead of the drilling she said: "I think there are a lot of people who feel the same way. They are scratching their heads thinking: 'Okay, you are going to do this in one of the most scenic, beautiful areas -- without any research on the damage to the environment and without any benefit for the country?'

"The country won't benefit from it -- I think it has to be reviewed and it certainly shouldn't go ahead the way it stands at the moment," she added.

Ms Hewson's comments follow news in recent weeks that Irish-listed company Providence Resources has received the go-ahead to begin the drill.

But this weekend, the firm, headed by Tony O'Reilly, stressed the benefits an oil find could have for the Irish economy and said project managers were "rigorous" about health and safety standards.

"We are a long way from a commercial oil or gas discovery, however, we believe that the implications of such a discovery would be of significant economic benefit for Ireland Inc in terms of taxation, employment, security of supply and skills development. Up to 40pc of profits from production of such a commercial discovery would accrue to the State," said a spokesman for the company.

The Department of the Environment awarded the foreshore licence to Providence to carry out drilling on the Dalkey Island project in Dublin Bay.

It covers an area in the Kish Bank Basin, allowing the company to carry out a seismic study, a well-site survey and drill an exploration well.

The drilling, 8km off the coast, is expected to start early next year.

Locals say the platform will be positioned out from Whiterock beach in an area where dolphins tend to appear.

"We have had a number of groups and individuals meet with us for positive and constructive discussions and we continue to encourage anyone with any concerns to come and talk to us," the spokesman said.

"Rigorous environmental and health and safety standards form a vital part of our ethos.

"Detailed environmental assessments were submitted as part of the foreshore licensing process and this offshore area was subject to the Government-led Irish Offshore Strategic Environmental Assessment 4 process, which included full public consultation," the spokesman added.

"At this stage we are only conducting a site survey and drilling a single exploratory well. The survey activity will take 10-15 days. The well will be drilled over a period of 30-60 days, within six months of the survey."

Sunday Independent

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