Communications Energy and Natural Resources, Dáil Issues

Clare raises fracking and the need for the Minister to take account of international developments and call a halt to any further investigation of this appalling practise, and the issue of bullying and harassment at Bord naMona, as always, a lot more questions than answers….

 

To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he has considered and is concerned by a British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission report that notes that 231 earthquakes triggered by fracking were recorded in the Montney region of British Columbia in 2014; if he has considered and is concerned by recent reports that a fracking company (details supplied) was responsible for triggering an earthquake in August 2015 that measured 4.6 on the Richter scale; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

– Clare Daly.

Progress Energy

For ORAL answer on Tuesday, 22nd September, 2015.

(6 Received on 14th September, 2015.)

REPLY

Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Joe McHugh)
The research programme directed at examining the potential environmental and human health impacts of hydraulic fracturing commissioned by the Environmental Protection Agency is ongoing. That research programme will have regard to experiences in other countries and draw on published reports and other sources. While the research programme is ongoing, it would not be useful for me as Minister to comment on individual reports.

I can once again re-iterate that no decision will be made on any proposal for the use of hydraulic fracturing in exploration drilling in Ireland as part of an unconventional gas exploration programme, until there has been time to consider the outcome of the research programme commissioned by the Environmental Protection Agency.

[Ref No.: 31713/15]

To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources his views on changes in terms and conditions for Bord na Móna employees, which will amount to substantial reductions in pay, and serious allegations of consistent bullying and harassment taking place in the company; his level of awareness of these issues; the action he has taken; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Clare Daly.
For ORAL answer on Tuesday, 22nd September, 2015.

(5 Received on 14th September, 2015.)

REPLY

Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Joe McHugh)
While the matter raised by the Deputy is an operational one for the management team at Bord na Móna, and not one in which I, as Minister, have any function, it is a matter of concern to me. Bord na Móna is facing significant business challenges in the context of the deregulation of the electricity market and increasingly competitive and challenging environments across all its business areas. In order to ensure its continued profitability, the company is implementing a programme to transform all areas of its operations and structure, the key objective of which is to improve business effectiveness and efficiency.

I am aware that management and union representatives have engaged under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission since February 2015 on a range of issues relating to the business transformation agenda within the company. These discussions include areas related to the terms and conditions of employees. I am advised that management and union representatives have agreed to refer these issues to the Labour Court. I hope you will appreciate that it would not be appropriate for me to comment further on this matter while this process is ongoing.

In relation to alleged instances of bullying within the company, I am assured by the Board of Bord na Móna that there are appropriate systems in place to deal with any allegations of bullying. Any employee who has concerns in this regard should bring it to the attention of the appropriate authorities in Bord na Móna.