Solidarity-People Before Profit TD Mick Barry has expressed concern that a planning application will be made before the end of the year, for the development of a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal at the Port of Cork.

He said the application comes on foot of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Port of Cork and US-based company Next Decade, which plans to extract fracked gas in south Texas, near the Mexican border, and then export it through Brownsville Port to Ireland.

Speaking during Leaders' Questions, he asked Taoiseach Leo Varadkar if it was possible to freeze any such application until the outcome of a Government-sponsored energy review.

He also asked if Mr Varadkar, ministers or departments had been lobbied by Next Decade, the US Chamber of Commerce or  the US Embassy.

Deputy Barry accused the government of only agreeing to ban fracking in Ireland "under pressure", but suggested it may now allow fracked LNG into Ireland "through the back door."

He said fracked gas was "worse that coal" when it came to emissions and if a LNG facility was created in Cork, or in Shannon, the country would be "locked-in for 40 years."

The Taoiseach said he had not been "lobbied on it personally" but added "lobbying is not a crime - it is part of what happens in a democracy."

He said lobbying happens "all the time" by non-governmental organisations (NGOs), trade unions and business, but legislation introduced by the Government ensured there was transparency.

On an LNG development at Cork, Mr Varadkar said he was "aware of it" but "didn't know much about it".

He added that it was "much my view" that Ireland would continue to "use gas for couple of decades" as a transition fuel to becoming carbon neutral.