Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 27 December 2014

DebateNI home of Northern Ireland politics

Stormont row on the cards over fracking in Northern Ireland

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan said that fracking would not happen on his watch
Environment Minister Mark H Durkan said that fracking would not happen on his watch

Stormont ministers are set for a fracas over fracking – the controversial process to extract shale gas from deep underground.

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan said that fracking would not happen on his watch.

But yesterday Trade and Industry Minister Arlene Foster called on Mr Durkan, who recently replaced Alex Attwood on the Executive, to think again.

The DUP minister told her SDLP colleague the issue would be for the entire Executive to resolve – and not any single minister.

"This is a novel and controversial issue, and therefore... will be a matter for the Executive as a whole to decide on," she said.

Last Friday in the High Court Mr Justice Treacy said Health Minister Edwin Poots breached the ministerial code by failing to take his lifetime ban on gay blood donors to the Executive.

But on Monday, Mr Durkan said: "In my opinion, the scientific evidence (which would allow fracking to go ahead) is not there now, and I cannot see it being there in the foreseeable future.

"Therefore, I cannot see fracking happening on my watch."

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