Over the weekend, Energy Minister Eamon Ryan said that he would not be granting prospecting licences to two companies that want to explore for uranium in Donegal.

Mr Ryan explained to the Irish Examiner newspaper that prospecting would not cause significant damage, but that it could lead to a situation where mining licences would have to be granted.

“We are in court taking actions against the processing of uranium in Sellafield,” he told the paper.

“It would be hypocritical of us to allow prospecting here. What we are doing here is similar to what has been done in New Zealand and a number of Australian states.

“A prospecting licence is the first step in the mining process. Granting a licence carries an implicit policy agreement permitting its extraction should a viable prospect be discovered. This is where my concern lies.”

Mr Ryan added that there were significant environmental and public health concerns surrounding uranium mining.

James Cooper

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