Red alert: Anti-fracking protest

ANTI-FRACKING campaigners, along with Extinction Rebellion Northern Ireland, have pleaded with politicians to not make Fermanagh a “sacrifice zone” to fracking.

 Their call comes as groups met on the shore of Lough Melvin in Garrison on Monday, where the iconic ‘Red Rebel’ of the Extinction Rebellion movement made an appearance to draw attention to the threat of fracking. Garrison is one of the areas which is under threat from fracking in Fermanagh.

Tom White, of Belcoo Frack Free, said that politicians need to take action against fracking as the evidence is conclusive with regards to fracking and its risks to public health, the environment and the climate. He continued: “We need the Executive to take the actions the Assembly gave them a mandate to do, namely, to enact the motion of October 13 and have an immediate moratorium on all petroleum licensing, while we wait for the legislative process to prohibit the granting of petroleum licences here. It’s crucial that our political leaders reflect the will of the people, act on our behalf, and remove the threats posed by this [fracking] industry here in Fermanagh, and across other areas of Northern Ireland.”

“We need the issuing of licenses to stop immediately. We are asking the public to get on to their politicians and ask for this [to stop],” said Dr. O’Dolan.

A £75,000 study into the pros and cons of petroleum explorations, including fracking, was funded by Stormont’s Economy Department, with the findings of the study due soon.

Fermanagh Fracking Awareness Network member, Dr. Carroll O’Dolan, echoed Mr. White’s message about the harmful affects of fracking. “The risks of this industry to our health, environment, climate, communities, jobs and prosperity is too high to allow these companies a foothold in the province.

Anti-fracking groups have raised concerns about this study and say there is already overwhelming evidence of the negative affects of fracking on communities and the climate.

A day before the tender for the Economy Department study was awarded, the Northern Ireland Assembly voted unanimously in support of an immediate moratorium on the issuing of petroleum licenses. There were also more than 5,700 public submissions opposing the EHA and Tamboran license applications, while Fermanagh and Omagh District Council called for a ban on oil/gas prospecting in the DFI Strategic Planning Policy Statement.

More than 80 NGOs and groups, including Friends of The Earth NI, Farmers For Action Coleraine, Belcoo GAA Club, and Youth Climate Association NI, endorsed a call for an immediate ban on fracking.