The Government's Policy Statement on the Importation of Fracked Gas was published in May of this year. This fulfilled a commitment set out in the Programme for Government. The policy statement provides that, pending the outcome of a review of the security of energy supply of Ireland’s electricity and natural gas systems that is currently being carried out by my Department, it would not be appropriate for the development of any LNG terminals in Ireland to be permitted or proceeded with. The review, which I expect to complete in the first half of next year, will be submitted to Government.
The policy statement was notified to An Bord Pleanala by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage following its approval by Government. Under the Planning and Development Act 2000, An Bord Pleanala is statutorily obliged to have regard to Government policy including the Policy Statement on the Importation of Fracked Gas.
The policy statement did not set out the need for, and I did not request, the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage to issue a directive under Section 29 of the Planning and Development Act 2000.
I am aware of a recent application for such a project and I intend to make a submission to An Bord Pleanála setting out the Government policy in this regard.