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Donegal has potential as energy hub

Ms Mandy Johnston, CEO

There is potential for Donegal to receive a further job and economic boost following a decision by Government to allow gas and oil exploration to continue off the coast, according to the Irish Offshore Operator’s Association.

Welcoming the decision Mandy Johnston, Chief Executive of the representative body for companies exploring along the North West Coast, said “Killybegs, Donegal Airport and local communities all have the potential to benefit from a future gas or oil find.”

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Ms Johnston added that there is no reason why the success of the Kinsale and Corrib Gas fields which each represent a €25m annual boost to the local economies of Cork and Mayo could not be repeated in Donegal.

Ms Johnston added: “The Government decision to continue exploration is rooted in science, evidence and facts. The reality is that all sectors of Donegal industry, agriculture and tourism need energy security. The best way to deliver that is to use Irish gas and oil.

The recent period of calm weather has shown that. We saw it on Sunday July 7th when wind was providing just 0.6% of electricity, while natural gas provides over 80%.

A gas find off the north west coast would also help us to reach our international commitments to cut carbon emissions. The reality is that fuel we source ourselves is cleaner. Russian Gas imported to Ireland creates 34-38% more greenhouse gas emissions than using Irish gas, while Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) imported from Qatar creates 22-30% more.

In addition handing over our energy independence could see decisions on the cost of keeping the lights on in Donegal, Letterkenny and every local town and village taken in boardrooms of Moscow, Washington or even Riyadh.

Our 13 member companies are committed to the highest standards and to local communities. We will continue to build on our strong relationship with harbour authorities in Killybegs and many others to ensure future energy supply is good for Donegal’s communities, good for jobs and good for the environment.”

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