Dáil moves to ban fracking - First step in the right direction

We are to join three of our European Union partners by banning onshore fracking. France, Germany and Bulgaria have vetoed the destructive practice, one that feeds our unsustainable dependence on carbon fuels.

On Wednesday the Dáil passed a Fine Gael private members bill, the first of this administration. It moves to the Senate where it is expected to be endorsed before the summer break.

Though celebrations must be put on ice until that final hurdle is safely crossed, this very welcome piece of legislation shows how a unified parliament, driven by the deep public concern expressed through a committed and well-informed lobby, can deliver on important issues.

Though many Dáil groupings had reservations about the legislation — some wanted the ban to cover offshore fracking as well — these concerns were set aside to secure the greater prize.

This may not be a game-changing example of new politics in action but it is very much a step in the right direction.

It also shows that public pressure can, if a campaign is well organised, well informed and determined, deliver on objectives that, on first impressions, seem unattainable.

It also recognises, at a frighteningly precarious moment for world unity on efforts to curtail climate change, that we cannot continue to use natural resources as if there are no consequences — a hard, unavoidable principle that will demand ever more legislation in the coming years.


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