Limerick TD Niall Collins
THE apparent failure of the plan to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant on the Shannon Estuary near Ballylongford has been a huge blow to West Limerick, according to local Fianna Fail TD Niall Collins.
However, Mr Collins believes the impending British exit from the European Union presents an opportunity to advance the project as it could help secure Ireland’s energy supply.
“The fact that the Commission for Energy Regulator sought to place an extra tariff on LNG effectively killed the project,” he said.
”The potential economic activity and employment that this project would create is enormous at a time when rural communities are struggling to feel the impact of the recovery.”
He added: “However a real opportunity now presents itself through Brexit for this LNG project to advance given that we rely on two energy inter-connectors from the UK and one being gas. The LNG project would provide us with independence from our UK reliance in advance of Brexit should it proceed.”
Mr Collins was responding to a recent statement by Minister for Communication, Climate Action and the Environment Denis Naughton in which the minister pointed out that Shannon LNG’s 10-year lease option on the site at Ballylongford had expired.
“I understand Shannon Commercial Properties will now publicly seek expressions of interest for the development of suitable projects on its Ballylongford landbank, and preparatory work for this procurement exercise has commenced,” Mr Naughton said.
While expressed his support for the LNG project, the minister pointed out that it was a commercial project.
“Its future lies in the hands of Shannon LNG and subject to an investment decision by the company,” he added.