Sinn Féin Energy Spokesperson Phil Flanagan has criticised minister Arlene Foster after her department granted a six-month extension to a company interested in fracking in Fermanagh.
The extension to Tamboran’s licence will give the company further time to decide whether to proceed with its plans to drill in West Fermanagh.
Mr Flanagan has revealed he is seeking legal advice as to whether or not this decision lay outside DETI’s remit and whether it should have been referred to the Executive for consideration.
Speaking this afternoon, the Fermanagh & South Tyrone MLA said:
“I am disgusted at the decision to unilaterally alter Tamboran’s terms of licence for fracking in Fermanagh for a further six months.
“In allowing this extension to happen, DETI has shown total disregard for the will of the Assembly, which voted for a moratorium on fracking in December 2011.
“The minister Arlene Foster assured the ETI Committee she would keep us informed of any changes or developments in the fracking process.
“But worse than that, it is my view that she may have breached the Ministerial Code of Office when her department allowed this extension to take place.
“On 15th October 2013, Arlene Foster informed the Assembly that she recognised fracking as a “novel and controversial issue” and as such “will be a matter for the Executive as a whole to decide on”.
“I will now be seeking legal advice as to whether or not this decision should indeed have been referred to the Executive for consideration.
“Based upon that advice, I will then decide whether a legal challenge to this decision in the courts would be appropriate.”