An Bord Pleanala approved construction of the facility in the Shannon Estuary, between Ballylongford and Tarbert in County Kerry.

It is believed that the plant will be capable of supplying around 60% of the country’s gas needs and will feature five large storage tanks.

The tanks will also be used to store strategic reserves of gas, which could be used in the event of a world energy crisis.

Local residents had raised objections about the potential pollution generated from the plant, but these fears were dismissed by An Bord Pleanala, which ordered the facility to pay Euro 200,000 annually to the community.

John Brassil, chairman of Shannon Development, the company behind the facility, commented: “[The] announcement is a major milestone in the development of a strategic project aimed at addressing Ireland’s future energy needs and will, I am convinced, make an important contribution to our international competitiveness in the future.”

However, the Independent newspaper reported that the developers must still secure planning permission to build a gas pipeline from the plant to the national grid, as well as a pollution licence from the Environmental Protection Agency.

James Cooper

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