Safety Before LNG
Exposing the truth about the New Fortress Energy 'Shannon LNG' project
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Press Releases

For Immediate Release
Press Release June 10th 2021: 

Revealed that ARUP wins Strategic Infrastructure Planning Application Status at An Bord Pleanála for Shannon LNG fracked gas infrastructure project on the same day its employee of 5 years, Chairman Leddin of the Green Party, rules a fracked gas import ban out of order in the Climate Bill. 

- Chairman Leddin of the Green Party now seen as the fracked gas industry champion in Government. Minister Ryan also has questions to answer on how he moved in the Dáil on the same today to prevent a fracked gas import ban being amended to the Climate Bill

'Safety Before LNG' intends to lodge a formal complaint at the Standards in Public Office Commission against  Limerick Green Party TD Chairman Brian Leddin after it was disclosed this morning that his former employer up to when he was elected a TD, ARUP, had won special planning status at An Bord Pleanála for the Shannon LNG fracked gas import terminal at Tarbert on the Limerick/Kerry border on the same day he controversially ruled all legislation against fracked gas imports out of order in the Climate Committee.  

Local Shannon Estuary environmental grass-roots campaign groups "Limerick Against Pollution" and 'Safety Before LNG' had already formally called on Chairman Leddin to step aside from his position on the Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action following his unbelievable clarifying statement on June 8th that he knew nothing about his company's work on the Shannon LNG fracked gas import terminal until he left ARUP to become a TD in February 2020. 

In its ruling on June 2nd, An Bord Pleanála decided that the fracked gas import terminal  qualifies as strategic infrastucture and under the Strategic Infrastructure Act of 2006 qualifies for fast-track planning directly with An Bord Pleanála. The project also has to be considered as a project in the "overriding public interest" as it was kept on the 4th Project of Common Interest (PCI) List after Minister Ryan successfully defended the Shannon LNG fracked gas import project PCI status in the High Court in March

For local activist groups on the Shannon Estuary it is now clear that Chairman Leddin of the Green Party is the champion for the fracked gas industry in Government. 

The groups said that they were deeply concerned about Chairman Leddin's clarifying statement on June 8th to the Climate Committee in which he stated:

 "I never had anything to do with ARUP's work on the proposed LNG plant. In fact I didn't even become aware that ARUP was working on this project until after I had actually left the company".

The groups wrote:

"It beggars belief that a local Limerick politician of Chairman Leddin's stature and environmental awareness would not be aware that since 2008 his company was working on an engineering project on the scale of the Shannon LNG fracked gas import terminal just down the river on the Limerick-Kerry border"

going on to state:

"It would be appropriate for Chairman Leddin to step aside until this issue is satisfactorily resolved in the interests of transparency, ethics and good governance."

Chairman Leddin and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan need to answer one question. Were Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan and Chairman Leddin aware that ARUP was the applicant for the fracked gas terminal on the Limerick/Kerry border when Chairman Leddin moved to rule a ban on fracked gas imports out of order in the Climate Committee?

Brian Leddin, the only Green Deputy representing an area west of the River Shannon in Limerick city, as chairman of the Climate Committee had previously signed in December the pre-legislative scrutiny report on the Climate Bill  which recommended  "that the Minister address in the Bill and/or revert to the Committee with a comprehensive plan to ban the importation of fracked gas and specifically to ban LNG terminals in Ireland within the year 2021”.

However, on June 2nd Deputy Leddin completely reversed this position when he wrote to TDs that the proposed amendments banning fracked gas imports and support for a global ban on fracking “are not relevant to the provisions of the Bill and must be ruled out of order in accordance with Standing Order 187(1).”

In an obviously-coordinated move, at the same time, Green Climate Action Minister Eamon Ryan was in the Dáil using a procedural trick that allowed him, as Minister, under the same standing order 187, to lay out a motion without debate giving a direct order to the Select Committee dealing with the Climate Bill that it could consider all amendments outside the provisions of the Bill, except for the amendments on fracking. This meant that Brian Leddin was able to declare all the fracking amendments to be out of order and to be quashed without debate and unable to proceed to the floor of the Dáil for a vote.

By using procedural tricks to rule amendments for a legislative ban on fracking out of order, Brian Leddin and Eamon Ryan have decided for the entire parliament that this question cannot be brought to the Dáil floor for a vote. This is very strange considering that Eamon Ryan, while in opposition in October 2019, had described fracked gas imports as "a climate change issue of the first order".

It is even more questionable that this happened on the very same day that An Bord Pleanála made a very controversial ruling in favour of Shannon LNG at An Bord Pleanála. 

We demand that the planning Minister immediately issues a written policy against fracked gas imports and LNG terminals as guidelines to both An Bord Pleanála and all Planning Authorities under Section 28 of the Planning and Development Act, 2000 which states“ The Minister may, at any time, issue guidelines to planning authorities regarding any of their functions under this Act and planning authorities shall have regard to those guidelines in the performance of their functions”.


The urgency with which this must now be dealt with is clear because under Section 30(1) the  “Minister shall not exercise any power or control in relation to any particular case with which a planning authority or the Board is or may be concerned”. New Fortress Energy dramatically informed investors on an earnings call the day before Saint Patrick's Day that Shannon LNG intends to file a new planning application for a US fracked gas import terminal on the Shannon Estuary in Ireland, with a final investment decision (FID) due in July/August. In November the High Court quashed development consent for Shannon LNG to construct a fracked gas import terminal on the Shannon Estuary.

This policy statement must therefore be published before any new planning application is lodged by Shannon LNG before the Minister’s powers are limited by Section 30(1). 


The importance of a section 28 guideline statement to An Bord Pleanála and all planning authorities cannot be overstated because under Section 28(1)(b) each planning authority “shall append to the draft development plan and the development plan” the Minister’s guidelines. This will ensure that the fracked gas import policy will live beyond the life of the current government. 


Most telling of all is that the inspector's report into the decision to allow ARUP apply for fast-track planning for an offshore terminal did not even refer to the Government's policy against fracked gas imports because it does not have to have regard to it without a section 28 instruction.  It is all the more important to give a section 28 direction given that An Bord Pleanála blatantly lied in its report by referring to the 26-kilometre connecting pipeline from the proposed terminal to Foynes as "already permitted infrastructure" when everybody knows that permission expired years ago. It is also highly questionable that An Bord Pleanála was allowed to give this status of strategic infrastructure project for what is now an application for an offshore floating storage regasification unit (FSRU) and not an onshore LNG terminal as is only provided for in the Strategic Infrastructure Act 2006. 

Even the location of Ballylongford for the proposed LNG terminal is incorrect in the Inspector's report and Board Direction - the site is in Tarbert, County Kerry and not in Ballylongford at all.

How many times can the Green Party pretend it is innocent?

Notes to Editor:

1. Full ruling of An Bord Pleanala on Fracked Gas FSRU: click here

2. The call for Chairman Leddin to step aside can be downloaded here

Revelation that Irish Green Party Climate Chairman Brian Leddin is a former 5-year employee up to 2020 of new Shannon LNG fracked gas import terminal applicant is feared as the real reason he has ruled all amendments to the Climate Bill banning fracked gas imports out of order  

 4. Press Release by Friends of the Irish Environment:

10 JUNE 2021

An Bord Pleanala accepts altered Shannon LNG Plans under Strategic Infrastructure Act

No risk of confusion over altered plans because ‘no public notices provided and no public participation’

An Bord Pleanala accepted the 2019 application by Shannon LNG for a liquid natural gas terminal for Strategic Infrastructure fast tracking on 2 June, 2021 in spite of a change of plans allowing for floating rather than land based operations.

Following receipt of the request for a fourth pre-application consultation meeting on 22 January 2021, the prospective applicant argued that the changes did not constitute an ‘alteration’ and this was accepted by the Board.

‘The idea that changing the project from onshore tanks to floating units is not an ‘alteration’ beggars belief’, FIE Director Tony Lowes said, adding ‘Tell that to the dolphins’.

The Inspector argues that the ‘only possible cause for confusion is the brief summary of proposal used by the Board on its website and correspondence/records but ‘given no public notices provided and no public participation there is no risk of confusion on this basis.’

‘The Inspector not only ruled out a new application, but he did so on the basis that there no public participation’, Mr. Lowes pointed out. ‘That is exactly why we have been arguing for public participation at the earliest opportunity of An Bord Pleanala’s consideration of any project.’

‘The applicant can rest assured that any application at this location for this project will be opposed as we have for the last 14 years.'

Originally granted permission in 2008, FIE had this planning permission quashed by the High Court in November 2020, with costs awarded in their favour.

Contact: Tony Lowes 353 (0)87 2176316 / 353 (0)27 74771

Previous High Court Case:


John McElligott
Safety Before LNG