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Rónán says: “I am concerned about proposals to extract shale gas from the ground in the Lough Allen basin region (Leitrim, Fermanagh) by means of Hydraulic Drilling and Pressure Extraction (Fracking). Minister Pat Rabbitte said he is in favour of it as long as it is ‘safe’. He even said that ‘it could be good for Ireland’ (3rd June 2013).
I disagree. I am totally opposed to fracking because of the environmental damage it could cause. Fracking has been going strong in the US for several years now. We must learn from the experience of other countries before we make choices that could put our environment at risk.”
Rónán says: “The proposed massive wind farm developments in the Midlands (approx 2,500 wind turbines) across Laois, Offaly, Kildare, Westmeath and Meath by UK companies will turn rural Ireland into the offshore wind farm for Britain.
We need to put legislation in place to determine appropriate distances from peoples’ homes and density of turbines per hectare. I will promote legislation to tackle this issue.
The Report on Guidelines for wind farms is not good enough; there should be clear guidelines on the maximum density of windmills per hectare.
There is huge potential in Ireland for offshore wind farms, The only offshore wind farm constructed to date is Phase 1 of the Arklow Bank project, the first phase of a 500MW project.
This is the first offshore wind farm in Ireland and the world’s first commercial application of offshore wind turbines over 3 megawatts in size. It is located on a shallow water sandbank in the Irish Sea, around 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) off the coast of Arklow with an area of 27 by 2.5 kilometres (16.8 by 1.6 mi).
Ireland can become a centre of excellence in offshore wind technology and turbine design. That should be our aim.”
High Voltage Lines
Rónán says: “In the Seanad, I brought forward a motion calling on the Government “to introduce legislation to regulate the construction, siting and associated matters connected with high voltage electricity transmission lines in Ireland, in particular to make provisions for the placing of such high voltage electricity transmission lines underground where physically possible.
I have criticised the ‘high-handed and dismissive’ approach taken by the All-Island Grid Study and by Eirgrid. I believe the alternative of placing high voltage cables underground has never been properly or fairly considered.
We are now confronted with the prospect of hundreds of turbines, pylons and power lines which will become part of the landscape and consciousness of rural Ireland for generations. Our natural amenity will be badly and permanently affected.
We should bury the lines and not the communities.”