The Tánaiste is defending his intention to meet the CEO of the company behind the proposed Shannon LNG project.
Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar intends meeting with US billionaire Wes Edens of New Fortress Energy.
The company is behind the planning application for a liquefied natural gas terminal on the Tarbert Ballylongford landbank.
An Bórd Pleanála is due to make a decision in September.
A spokesperson for Leo Varadkar says that the Tánaiste will meet New Fortress Energy in the coming weeks to hear about its plans for North Kerry and how they might fit in with the Government’s energy security and climate objectives, if at all.
The spokesperson goes on to say that Mr Varadkar is particularly keen to assess whether the terminal could be adapted for green hydrogen and that he believes there’s real potential for this in the Shannon Estuary.
State support for the terminal was abandoned under the 2020 Programme for Government agreed by Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party as natural gas is a fossil fuel.
However, the government will not block the Shannon LNG terminal, despite the Green Party’s opposition to the project.
Leo Varadkar’s been criticised for his plans to meet New Fortress Energy by opponents of the project who say it’s inappropriate given that no planning decision has been made.
A spokesperson for the Tánaiste says it’s permissible for a minister to meet a company that has a planning application lodged with a local council or An Bórd Pleanála. The spokesperson says at the moment, this would include large multi-nationals and almost every home builder in the State.