'It would be irresponsible to give the green light on fracking'
Fracking cannot go ahead in Ireland without having a harmful effect on human health and the environment, a Dáil committee has found.
Acknowledging that gas reserves of up to €32bn could be available, a report from the Joint Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment says it would be "irresponsible" to allow it be extracted given uncertainty on the impacts.
Fracking involves recovering gas and oil from shale rock, but has prompted environmental concerns due to the volume of water required, chemicals used which could contaminate groundwater and a worry it can cause earth tremors.
Exploration licences have been granted for parts of the Clare Basin and Northwest Carboniferous Basin, which covers Cavan, Donegal, Fermanagh, Leitrim, Mayo, Monaghan, Roscommon, Sligo and Tyrone. The report said fracking could reduce reliance on fossil fuels, but it was in the public interest to ban it.