Rural Minister Rules Out Fracking

Northern Ireland's Agricultural Minister Michelle O'Neill has said that no fracking will take place on any land owned by her department.

The announcement followed a question by Minister O'Neill's colleague in Sinn Féin, Phil Flanagan.

The scope of the statement includes the Forest Service, which accounts for 30,690 acres.

Minister O’Neill said: "During my time as Minister of this Department I would not agree to fracking taking place on land owned by my department."

Hydraulic fracturing, or 'fracking', is a controversial method of releasing natural gas from the earth by drilling and injecting fluid at a high pressure.

Environmental campaign groups have warned the process could cause irreparable damage to the earth and the surrounding environment.

Welcoming the commitment, Mr Flanagan said: "This is a very positive move and demonstrates Sinn Féin’s commitment to opposing fracking anywhere in Ireland.

"The risks associated with fracking have long been debated and it is widely accepted across Ireland that fracking is not in the best interests of our people, of our environment or of our economy.

"Fracking poses a very real risk to the success of our farming industry, which is vital in counties like Fermanagh & Leitrim.

"It is therefore very welcome that the Minister with responsibility for protecting the agriculture sector, forestry and rural development has vowed to block any proposals to allow fracking to take place on any of her department’s lands."


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

14 August 2013
Durkan Clashes With Cameron Over Fracking
Northern Ireland's Environment Minister Mark H Durkan has clashed with David Cameron in the Commons, following the PM's statement encouraging the UK population to "get behind" fracking. Minister Durkan responded by saying agreeing to fracking at present would be "reckless and irresponsible".
17 April 2012
Fracking 'Safe' Says Report
Fracking for oil and gas is 'safe', so says an independent report published today. The controversial process of drilling for gas and oil has come under attack following the acknowledgment that it can cause mini-earthquakes or tremors but a government-commissioned report has given it a green light.
28 August 2018
Devenish Chosen To Take Part In UK Trade Mission To Africa
Belfast-based agri-technology company, Devenish, is to travel to Africa alongside UK Prime Minister Theresa May, on her first official visit to the continent.
14 December 2012
NI Fracking A Decision For Stormont - Attwood
Environment Minister Alex Attwood has said a decision on fracking in northern Ireland will only be made at Stormont. Reacting to the news that Westminster has given the controversial gas-extraction technique the green light, Mr Attwood said: "I note the further position of the London government.
07 November 2019
Lady Hermon Stands Down As North Down MP
Lady Sylvia Hermon has confirmed that she will not contest the General Election. The Independent unionist MP held the seat for North Down since 2001. Warm tributes have been flooding in from across the political spectrum following the announcement.