A Dáil motion calling for domestic energy production and the termination of oil and gas imports, presented by the rural independent group, will be up for debate tomorrow (Wednesday, June 15).

The motion seeks to ensure the development of Irish oil and gas, which, the group said, would provide energy security while reducing the costs for Irish consumers.

Speaking ahead of the debate at a press conference in Leinster House today (Tuesday, June 14), group leader Mattie McGrath said oil and gas will be required for decades to come.

Developing the Barryroe field off the coast in Co. Cork is Ireland’s only route to self sufficiency and energy security. Deputy McGrath explained:

“Ireland currently imports 100% of its oil demand. We believe the viable Barryroe oil field, as Ireland’s only indigenous oil discovery, has the potential to be developed in the short term and must be given the green light to proceed now.”

He insisted that Barryroe production is not incompatible with Ireland’s transition to a carbon-neutral economy by 2050.

While the rural independent group acknowledges the potential of wind generation in Ireland, Deputy McGrath said, such projects require proper planning, multi-billion euro investment and a much longer development.

Energy crisis

The group said Ireland cannot become a green economy “overnight” as 87% of total energy supply still comes from fossil fuels.

Criticising the government’s policy position on energy, the deputy called for deliberate policy actions to be taken now to ensure the end of Ireland’s dependence on oil and gas imports.

He added that energy imports create a greater carbon footprint than Irish oil and gas exploration.

This path constrains Irish citizens into paying more for electricity, gas, home-heating oil, petrol and diesel, while seriously contributing to our cost-of-living burden, according to the group leader.

“Continuing on the government’s current energy path means the cost-of-living crisis in Ireland will only worsen, and that when energy supplies further diminish, the end of the pipeline will be nigh, reduced to a trickle.

“Despite the dire situation and warnings for over a year now, the government has failed to publish the energy security review, as promised in the Programme for Government in June 2020,” the deputy said.