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For Immediate Release
Press Release September 28th 2021: 

So, why is the Green Party leader in Ireland - Environment Minister Eamon Ryan - actually defending Shannon LNG and the Fracking Industry in the Irish Courts?

 
The Irish Programme for Government agreed to “withdraw the Shannon LNG terminal from the EU Projects of Common Interest  list in 2021”.

However, Green Party Leader, Minister Eamon Ryan, is actually defending a case in the Court of Appeal giving his support for Shannon LNG remaining on the 4th PCI List. The Irish eNGO - Friends of the Irish Environment - has asserted in the High Court that Shannon LNG was illegally added to the PCI list by the Irish Government in 2019 because no climate sustainability impacts were assessed - neither by the European Commission nor by the Irish Member State - despite these assessments being legal obligations under the PCI Regulation. Because the PCI List is part of an EU Regulation, the only legal means of now taking Shannon LNG off the 4th PCI list is via a referral to the European Court of Justice. Éamon Ryan’s legal team successfully argued in the High Court that no such referral should be allowed to be made to the ECJ and this allowed Shannon LNG to stay on the 4th PCI list. This decision is now being appealed to the Court of Appeal with Eámon Ryan still refusing to concede to the request for an ECJ ruling despite the commitments he signed up to in the Programme for Government to get Shannon LNG off the PCI List in 2021.

The case is now taking on more significance because Shannon LNG has lodged a new planning application for a floating fracked gas import terminal on the Shannon Estuary  and it is almost guaranteed to get planning permission due to its PCI status. PCI accreditation from the European Commission is extremely powerful because any projects put on this list are allocated the status of "overriding public interest“ in a special fast-track planning process in each Member State and are thus almost guaranteed development consent. Article 5(9) of the PCI regulation 347/2013 states:

"Projects which are no longer on the Union list shall lose all rights and obligations linked to the status of project of common interest arising from this Regulation. However, a project which is no longer on the Union list but for which an application file has been accepted for examination by the competent authority shall maintain the rights and obligations arising from Chapter III, except where the project is no longer on the list for the reasons set out in paragraph 8."

The Green Party leader’s actions are in direct contravention of  both the Programme for Government agreement to withdraw the proposed Shannon LNG terminal from the PCI list in 2021 and the new Government policy against fracked gas imports published on May 18th, which stated: 

“In order to implement the Programme for Government commitment that it does not support the importation of fracked gas, the Government has approved that: pending the outcome of the review of the security of energy supply of Ireland’s electricity and natural gas systems, it would not be appropriate for the development of any LNG terminals in Ireland to be permitted or proceeded with”

The Green party, by defending Shannon LNG in the Irish Courts, is leaving itself wide open to allegations of “gaslighting” the people who care for the environment. Telling the public that it is serious about taking Shannon LNG off the PCI list, while its leader Minister Eamon Ryan is fighting in the courts to help Shannon LNG by ensuring it gets planning permission for a fracked gas import terminal by keeping it on the PCI list will require some very creative explanation from the Green Party Spin machine.

Ireland is only counting the emissions it produces in the country as it calculates its carbon budget for different sectors of the economy. However, the Climate Committee heard from scientific experts in October 2019 that, over its full lifecycle, importing US fracked gas as LNG into Ireland would have a carbon-equivalent footprint 44% greater than that of importing coal (to Moneypoint in County Clare) over a 20 year period.  But even considering just the territorial emissions in isolation, Shannon LNG admits in its own planning application documents that "direct emissions from the operation of the proposed development will equate to approximately 963kt CO2e in 2030, around 2.1% of Ireland’s carbon allowance if Ireland’s carbon reduction targets are met." The company has also declared that it intends to apply separately for a  320-Megawatt data centre on the site of the proposed fracked gas import terminal.

With the Climate Committee hearing evidence on September 28th that all the data centres currently being proposed in Ireland could be using up to 70% of grid capacity by 2030, it is unacceptable from a climate perspective that the Green Party of Ireland is helping the shortfall to be sourced from US fracked gas. The new Generation Capacity Statement (GCS) from Eirgrid, the national power grid operator, is showing that demand levels in other sectors outside outside of data centres have remained broadly flat in recent years. If the price for Ireland being the “best little country in the world to do business” is to have a glut of US-data centres in Ireland being powered by one of the dirtiest of all fossil fuels - fracked gas, be it from imported via LNG terminals or from actual Fracking in Northern Ireland -  then maybe that price is one that is too high for any sane or rational person to support.

Source: All-Island Generation Capacity Statement 2019-2028,  Eirgrid (these figures do not inlcude the most recent data centre connection requests received by Eirgrid - explaining the discrepancy between the 29% Eirgrid estimate and the 70% estimate from Maynooth University which states:

"Data centres currently represent 11 per cent of grid capacity, but Eirgrid estimates this will be 28% by 2030 based on existing connections. If all proposed data centre projects were connected, this figure could be as high as 70% of grid capacity by 2030. This is compared with 2% of electricity consumed by data centres worldwide.")


The Planning and Development (Climate Emergency Measures) (Amendment) Bill 2021 is currently proceeding through the Dáil proposing to restrict the development of LNG terminals and Data Centres in Ireland. The Green Party in Government is, once again, expected to embarrassingly vote against yet another Climate Mitigation initiative. 

Green Party supporters will undoubtedly themselves be starting to wonder why the Green Party leader does not concede in the Court of Appeal challenge by the Friends of the Irish Environment and allow the European Court of Justice the possibility of removing Shannon LNG from the 4th PCI List. 

Ends.

Contact: John McElligott  Tel: 087-2804474 / SafetyBeforeLNG@hotmail.com / www.SafetyBeforeLNG.ie 

 


Note 1:
The formal planning application by Shannon LNG can be viewed here: https://www.pleanala.ie/en-ie/case/311233

Note 2:

Click here to view the JUDGMENT of Mr. Justice Garrett Simons delivered on 14 September 2020  refusing a preliminary reference to the European Court of Justice on whether Shannon LNG was illegally added to the PCI List

 
Click here to view the JUDGMENT of Mr. Justice Garrett Simons delivered on 30 March 2021 ruling that the Climate Act 2015  effectively "be construed as applying to a Minister up to the door of the Cabinet room, ceasing to apply at the threshold and then re-attaching to the Minister on exiting the room





 





            

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