Fine Gael members want a redrafting of the Programme for Government, a move that has ignited tensions with the Green Party.
SUSTAINABILITY & CLIMATE
Check out our Sustainability and Climate Change Hub where you will find the latest news, features, opinions and analysis on this topic from across the various Irish Examiner topic desks and their team of specialist writers and columnists.
Members of Leo Varadkar's party now want a change of policy in relation to the use and importation of liquefied natural gas (LNG) which the Programme for Government has ruled out.
The Green Party is strongly against the use of fracked gas which could be brought in through the proposed Shannon liquefied natural gas terminal. Just last month Green Party TD Neasa Hourigan launched a bill to keep Ireland LNG free.
It is understood that OPW Minister Patrick O'Donovan and Kerry TD Brendan Griffin both raised the issue at a meeting of the Fine Gael parliamentary party this week. They both called for a review of the coalition document's stance on LNG, especially given the fuel uncertainly that has been sparked by the Ukrainian conflict.
The politicians argued that Germany has now moved to substitute Russian supplies with larger deliveries of liquefied natural gas fuel.
Reacting, Ms Hourigan said LNG had been a red line issue for the Greens in agreeing to enter the coalition, and had been hammered out even before talks began in 2020.
"The effective ruling out of LNG was a commitment made to get us into negotiations," she said.
"It's foundational to the coalition and I don't envisage that it will be changed in any way."
She said LNG is "particularly polluting" and Ireland, which does not currently have any terminals to import the gas, should not be moving to introduce the fuel.
Another Green Party source warned that if Fine Gael pushes to open up the Programme for Government over LNG, it would mean a full review of the policy agreement, suggesting that all parties would then want to make changes to other areas.
The Programme for Government states: "As Ireland moves towards carbon neutrality, we do not believe that it make sense to develop LNG gas import terminals importing fracked gas. Accordingly, we shall withdraw the Shannon LNG terminal from the EU Projects of Common Interest list."
Asked about the possibility of changing Ireland's policy on LNG, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said: "I think we're in a wartime situation. So we have to be working through all potential scenarios to make sure that we can guarantee energy security and also for the proper functioning of the economy in the short term.
"By that, I mean in terms of pricing issues, and sheer exponential growth in energy prices now.
"So we do have an open mind in terms of what's the optimal route for Ireland to take in the short term to make sure that industry continues, that the economy continues to operate and that we have security," Mr Martin said.