09/05/2019

Concerns Raised Over Fracking Proposal

Representatives from several of Northern Ireland's political parties have expressed concern over a renewed proposal for a fracking licence in County Fermanagh.

The Green Party has called on the Permanent Secretary of the Department for the Economy to safeguard the health and well being of south West residents and refuse a licence for hydraulic fracking in the area.

It comes after Australian company Tamboran submitted a proposal after a failed attempt in 2014.

Leader of the Green Party in Northern Ireland Clare Bailey MLA said: "Tamboran must understand that the people of Fermanagh and across Northern Ireland want to have shale gas left in the ground. Fracking poses a major health risk to local communities with a risk of tremors and chemical contamination associated with drilling.  

"The timing of the application is cynical- coming so soon after a local council election. Tamboran were clearly keen that fracking did not become an issue during the election campaign. The continuing Stormont stalemate also provides an opportunity for drilling firms to avoid accountability and scrutiny.  

"However, the company can be sure that the local community and anti-fracking campaigners will mobilise against this fracking proposal in the same way that they did in 2014. The Green Party NI will back them all the way.  

"The Republic of Ireland became the fourth EU country to ban fracking in 2016. Northern Ireland must not become an environmental waste ground while our European counterparts enhance protections around us.

"The Permanent Secretary must reject this new licence bid, prioritise investment in renewable sources of energy, a just transition away from an economy driven by fossil fuels and protect the health and wellbeing of our communities in the process."
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SDLP Councillor Adam Gannon also expressed concern over the news that the Department for Economy had accepted the proposal as valid.

The representative for the Erne West DEA commented: "When fracking was previously proposed in Fermanagh it was overwhelmingly rejected by the community and the community remain resolutely opposed. Given the environmental challenges we are facing and that have been highlighted by recent protests this would seem to be a backwards step. We should be striving to move towards renewable sources of energy and protecting our climate.

"The SDLP is strongly opposed to the introduction of fracking to Northern Ireland as proven by Mark H Durkan who introduced a moratorium on fracking whilst he was the Environment Minister. Ultimately, legislation is the only thing that can protect Fermanagh and the rest of the North from fracking and I would urge the problem political parties to get back to work and allow a permanent ban on fracking."

Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson has reiterated her call for an immediate ban on fracking due to the health and environmental threats it poses.

She said the people of Fermanagh don't stand to benefit from the "destructive method" of extracting gas.

"It will line the pockets of multinational corporations, while potentially contaminating ground and drinking water, threatening public health and the natural biodiversity of Fermanagh.

"The creation of sustainable jobs and incomes for Fermanagh does not lie in fracking. The tax from the industry will go straight to the British exchequer and we in the north will still have the same amount in the form of a block grant.

"Fracking will not help our economy, it will only harm our environment. We need to urgently decarbonise our societies. The real potential for job creation and economic growth in Fermanagh lies in the development of clean, sustainable and renewable sources of energy.

"We need to ban fracking in the north of Ireland immediately."



(JG/CM)

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