A DUP MLA has said proposals for a local referendum in Fermanagh on fracking by Sinn Fein is the party's “attempt to block economic development.”
Sammy Wilson has accused Sinn Fein of having “a limited grasp of economic issues.”
“It is increasingly clear that they are intent on finding every possible way to block economic development in Northern Ireland.”
“This is a party which talks about fuel poverty, but then go out of their way to block the exploitation of a resource which could reduce fuel bills for thousands of families,” he said.
The proposal is to hold a local referendum on the issue, but shale gas “is not just a local resource,” says Mr Wilson.
“It is a decision which will have an impact right across Northern Ireland and the proper place for such a decision to be taken is within the Assembly. Sinn Fein may prefer to abdicate their responsibility, but the proper way to go about this is to have a debate on the policies related to shale gas exploitation, the industrial policy, minerals policy and planning policy.”
“The debate on fracking should be taken forward on the basis of evidence as to its safety and the economic impact it can have. None of this however seems to be a feature of Sinn Fein’s thinking however as they simply rush for a cheap headline,” he said.