The latest version of the text states: “It shall not be lawful for a person to search for, get, raise, take, carry away or work petroleum by means of hydraulic fracturing,” a controversial method using high-pressure water and chemicals to break underground rock and extract oil or gas.

The vote follows a report by the wider Oireachtas Joint Committee last month supporting the bill.

Fine Gael Sligo-Leitrim TD Tony McLoughlin, who introduced the proposed legislation, described the latest step as “a ground-breaking moment in Irish politics”. “Private members’ bills rarely, if ever, make it to the committee stage for the legislative process,” he said.

Shale gas is known to be present in his constituency, but many residents there, including farmers, oppose fracking because of its potential environmental risks.

Listen to the views of Co Roscommon beef farmer Tommy Earley in our podcast below:

Listen to “Northwest farmer welcomes fracking report” on Spreaker.

The bill must now be adopted by the Oireachtas as a whole before becoming law.

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Watch and listen: northwest farmers welcome fracking report

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