Environmental scientists and campaigners have raised concerns about the Government's decision to back proposals for a Kerry-based Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) import terminal. 

The Shannon development, proposed by US company "New Fortress Energy" is designed to be a gas terminal.

Campaigners have raised concerns that this will result in Ireland using fracked gas from the United States despite fracking being banned in Ireland. 

Planning permission for the terminal which was granted in 2008 has expired and a new application has been submitted to An Bord Pleanala. 

Fracking is the process of drilling down into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside.

The Government has put the Shannon LNG gas terminal forward for inclusion on a special EU energy list known as the Project of Common Interest (PCI) list.

Projects on the list can gain access to funding and go through a fast-track planning process due to the public interest significance.

Speaking at the Oireachtas Committee on Climate Change today, a spokesman for Safety Before LNG ,Eddie Mitchell  said they have concerns over fracked gas imports at the planned Shannon LNG terminal. 

He said that last Friday Minister for Climate Action and the Environment, Richard Bruton, approved Shannon LNG on the draft PCI list which he said would set the framework for developing consent.

He said prioritising trade over climate through silent policy was not prudent and needs to be stopped.  

Another spokesperson for Safety Before LNG, John McElligott told the committee that an LNG terminal on the Shannon Estuary is dangerous to people within a three mile radius. 

He said fracked gas in the energy mix was not acceptable due to the climate and health issue associated with fracking. 

DCU professor of engineering Barry McMullin said reducing methane emissions would buy more time when it comes to climate change.
 
Professor Robert W. Howarth, from the Cornell University, said reducing methane emissions would slow the rate of global warming unlike carbon dioxide where there was a lag of several decades. 

Fianna Fáil's Spokesperson on the Environment Timmy Dooley said Ireland recognised there was a problem with fracked gas and he asked if there was a need for an LNG terminal in Kerry.

Dr Paul Deane research fellow at MaREI, the Environmental Research Institute at UCC, told the committee that the research points to the fact that LNG infrastructure is not required in Ireland. 

Mr Deane said Ireland has never had a supply interruption of gas coming into Ireland.  

Fianna Fáil TD for Kerry and Spokesperson on Primary Care and Community Health John Brazil, said there was evidence and science supporting having an LNG facility in Ireland. 

He said the Irish Academy of Engineering report on the security of Ireland's gas supply stated that relying on imported gas from Britain for all of Ireland's gas supply beyond 2030 is not advisable. 

It said developing LNG import terminal in Ireland would enhance Ireland security of gas supply and provide access to the global LNG market. 

A spokesperson for Frack Action, based in New York, Julia Walsh said there had been a dramatic increase in pollution and sickness in areas where fracking was taking place in the US. 

She told the committee that the gas intended for the proposed Shannon LNG import terminal was from fracking in Pennsylvania. 

She said that getting gas from the United States when there is a law banning fracking in Ireland reeks of "hypocrisy." 

In a statement Minister Richard Bruton said Shannon LNG has been designated as a project of common interest by the European Commission for six years.

He said the government will not support any grant application by Shannon LNG until a security of supply review has been completed and considered by the Government and by the Dáil.