Proposed offshore drilling ban legislation criticised ahead of Dáil vote

The representative body for the Irish exploration sector has said proposed legislation to ban offshore oil and gas drilling "does not reflect the current or future realities of energy supply and demand in Ireland".

The Irish Offshore Operators' Association said while a transition to low-carbon energy is needed, the change "needs to be realistic, costed and planned".

People Before Profit's Climate Emergency Bill, which targets a ban on offshore oil and gas drilling in Irish waters, is being debated in the Dáil tonight ahead of a vote on Thursday on whether or not it should progress to TD-only select committee stage, where the Party believes it has a better chance of success.

However, the IOOA said: "The bill does not reflect the current or future realities of energy supply and demand in Ireland, in terms of energy security, emissions output and cost, and most importantly, it will not reduce Ireland’s greenhouse emissions."

It said the ongoing development of indigenous gas and oil, "to secure our supply and support greater adoption of renewables," will be part of the transition to a low-carbon energy culture.

"Any policy or legislative developments must be considered in that context," the IOOA said.

Earlier this week, People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith, who has sponsored the bill, accused the Government of paying "lip service" to the issue of climate change while being "ideologically wed to the fossil fuel industry".

The IOOA also said it wants to be "a positive force in all aspects of a new conversation about Ireland’s energy supply now and into the future," adding that it will continue to engage "with all relevant stakeholders."

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