Leitrim County Council has passed a motion to ask Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan to ban hydraulic fracturing or fracking in the Republic of Ireland.

The council will write to Mr Hogan asking him to ensure that the practice of hydraulic fracturing be excluded as a method of extracting gas and oil.

Two motions before the councillors proposing to amend the County Development Plan to ban fracking were not voted on.

Instead, it was agreed to hold a special meeting to discuss Leitrim's County Development Plan and the possibility of amending it.

Councillors accepted that the plan was aspirational and that any change would also be aspirational.

However, they stressed that a strong message should be sent out that there are serious concerns about the process of hydraulic fracturing and the potential effects it will have on the country's environment, tourism and agriculture.

Director of Service for Planning, Community and Economic Development Joseph Gilhooly said that changing the County's Development Plan to ban or put a moratorium on fracking would be "fraught with technical and legal difficulties".

County Manager Jackie Maguire said that such a change would involve substantial research into alternative wording.

Ms Maguire said that the process would require public consultation and would take in the region of eight months.