The wife of U2 frontman Bono is leading the protests against plans to drill for oil in Dublin Bay.
Well known human rights activist Ali Hewson has claimed the exploration will impact the local environment.

She has said she is opposed to the drilling off the South Dublin coastline where she lives as it would ‘spoil’ the area.

Hewson and her husband are two of the wealthiest residents of the posh Dalkey/Killiney coastline where speculators want to drill for oil.

The U2 singer’s wife told the Sunday Independent newspaper: “I think there are a lot of people who feel the same way. They are scratching their heads thinking: ‘Okay, you are going to do this in one of the most scenic, beautiful areas - without any research on the damage to the environment and without any benefit for the country?’

“The country won’t benefit from it - I think it has to be reviewed and it certainly shouldn’t go ahead the way it stands at the moment.”

Hewson has made her stand after Irish-listed company Providence Resources was given the go-ahead to begin the drill.

The company, headed by Tony O’Reilly, has stressed the benefits an oil find could have for the Irish economy.

A spokesman for Providence said: “We are a long way from a commercial oil or gas discovery, however, we believe that the implications of such a discovery would be of significant economic benefit for Ireland Inc in terms of taxation, employment, security of supply and skills development.

“Up to 40 per cent of profits from production of such a commercial discovery would accrue to the State.”

Ireland’s Department of the Environment has awarded a foreshore licence to Providence to carry out drilling on the Dalkey Island project in Dublin Bay.

The drilling is expected to start early next year and will take place five miles from the coast.

Providence representatives have moved to allay local fears and say their methods are safe.

The spokesman added: “We have had a number of groups and individuals meet with us for positive and constructive discussions and we continue to encourage anyone with any concerns to come and talk to us.

“Rigorous environmental and health and safety standards form a vital part of our ethos.

“Detailed environmental assessments were submitted as part of the foreshore licensing process and this offshore area was subject to the Government-led Irish Offshore Strategic Environmental Assessment 4 process, which included full public consultation.

“At this stage we are only conducting a site survey and drilling a single exploratory well. The survey activity will take 10-15 days. The well will be drilled over a period of 30-60 days, within six months of the survey.”