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‘It's a choice between LNG coming into North Kerry or Putin having Europe over a barrel’

The Irish Government needs to change its approach to the Shannon LNG plan in light of today’s announcement by US on gas, says Fianna Fáil MEP Billy Kelleher


Fianna Fáil Ireland South MEP Billy Kelleher

Fianna Fáil Ireland South MEP Billy Kelleher

Fianna Fáil Ireland South MEP Billy Kelleher


Fianna Fáil Ireland South MEP Billy Kelleher has called on the Government to ‘get off its hands’ and back the Shannon LNG plant in the interests of achieving energy security at a crucial time in the war-wracked global market.

His comments came shortly after US President Joe Biden announced a deal on Friday to supply an additional 15 billion cubic metres of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe this year; further weakening Russia’s ability to wage war in Ukraine while securing a blood-free source for the continent.

And the project mooted for the Ballylongford Landbank which is currently before An Bord Pleanála – ahead of a decision due in September – could prove an important supply point.

An Bord has to consider the Government policy on the matter, which is firmly opposed to the importation of fracked gas into the State as per a policy statement published in May of last year. 

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New Fortress Energy, the multinational giant behind the plan, said it would not trade in fracked gas via the North Kerry terminal, obtaining LNG extracted through other means.

But environmental campaigners doubt such claims and remain fiercely opposed to the establishment of the plant. A multitude of climate-campaign groups maintain the plant would lock Ireland into the use of fossil fuels for decades to come, when the health of the Earth can least afford it.

The newly-announced US-EU deal will likely involve significant quantities of fracked gas, which accounts for two thirds of the gas stock derived in North America according to some figures.

Billy Kelleher is now adding his voice to a growing chorus calling for an immediate move away from Russian gas, however. He is calling on the Government to ‘get off its hands' and to stop leaving decisions ‘solely’ up to the planning authorities. 

“Today’s announcement by President Joe Biden that the US and other nations will provide an additional 15 billion cubic metres of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to Europe in 2022 to help wean the EU off Russian gas imports opens up many opportunities for an LNG terminal in North Kerry,” he said on Friday afternoon.

“With an additional 15 billion cubic metres in 2022, and up to 50 billion from 2023 onwards, this is an important step in weaning the EU off Russian gas.

“This additional capacity will need somewhere to be brought onshore. The proposed facility in North Kerry must surely be in a prime location to take in this LNG and disseminate into the EU network via our connection into the UK network.

“For this to happen, the Irish Government needs to get off their hands, and stop leaving the decisions solely up to the planning authorities.

“We are in an energy security crisis. If it is a choice between LNG arriving into the EU via North Kerry or Putin having the EU over a barrel due to our dependence on Russian gas, there is only one right answer.

“Gas, of some form, will form part of Europe’s energy mix over the next 25 years. We must future proof the technology so it can be used in other ways. For example, in dealing with the large volumes of carbon, obtained through industrial carbon capture, that we will need to ship out to older oil and gas fields for storage.

“We cannot stick our heads in the sand and hope for the best. We must wean ourselves of Russian gas in the short term and off most gas in the medium term. There is an opportunity now for Ireland to help achieve both outcomes,” concluded Kelleher.