Lobbying by multinational exploration is what a local politician suspects was behind the European Parliament's rejection of a proposal to apply environmental impact assessments to all planning involving hydraulic fracturing (fracking).
Sinn Féin Midlands Northwest EU candidate Matt Carthy expressed his disappointment at the failure of MEPs to support the move.
“It appears that lobbyists working on behalf of multinational exploration companies have been successful in their lobbying efforts to have the EU parliament vote defeated. This is totally unacceptable and all MEPs have a responsibility to stand up for those who elected them. Clearly there needs to be a crack-down on such lobbying activity," said Mr Carthy, without naming either the companies or lobby groups he suspects of defeating the vote.
“It is beyond belief that a majority in the European Parliament would vote against such a basic measure as requiring an Environment Impact Assessment before this controversial measure is employed," said Mr Carthy.
Tamboran Resources intend to use the controversial technique to extract gas from shale in Counties Leitrim and Fermanagh in the coming years. The company has insisted that, if properly regulated the techique is safe and poses no danger to the environment.
Meanwhile, last week France's constitutional court upheld a law banning fracking in the country. All four points raised by Schuepbach Energy in their challenge against the 2011 ban were dismissed.
Local campaigners opposed to hydraulic fracturing have pointed to France's stance as an example to be followed in Ireland.
“The issue of fracking is causing concern for many communities, particularly in the North West – in counties such as Leitrim, Sligo and Fermanagh. Real and genuine concerns have been raised regarding the potential damage to the environment, to tourism and to the farming sector as a result of this activity.
“While Sinn Féin’s MEP for the North Martina Anderson voted in favour of Environmental Impact Assessments being extended to the exploration and extraction of shale gas, the majority of MEPs failed to support this important move.
"Hydraulic fracturing involves drilling at a depth below ground water level, a practise which many experts have contended can cause contamination to drinking water supplies. There are also serious concerns about the potential damage to farmland affected by contaminated ground water and to public health from polluted drinking water.
“I welcomed the bill introduced in the Dáil by my party colleague, Michael Colreavy TD, to ban fracking and I am calling on others, particularly those from the government parties, to support this legislation.
“If elected to the European Parliament I will make it a priority to stand up for communities faced with fracking.”