Press Release: Don’t make Fermanagh a ‘Sacrifice Zone’ to fracking

Don’t make Fermanagh a ‘Sacrifice Zone’ to fracking

Community campaigners and Extinction Rebellion Northern Ireland have pleaded with politicians not to make Fermanagh a ‘Sacrifice Zone’ to fracking. The call was made following a photo shoot at Lough Melvin in Garrison involving one of the iconic symbols of the Extinction Rebellion movement, the ‘Red Rebels’. The lone rebel who represents a call to act against climate change and biodiversity collapse in their distinctive flowing red cloak made an appearance on the shore of the majestic Lough Melvin to draw attention to the threat of the fracking industry gaining a foothold there. The action was even more important as Garrison is one of the license areas under threat.

The Northern Ireland Department for the Economy study on fracking is due to be published imminently. Serious concerns have been raised previously about this study, including that the tender was awarded to a company with strong ties to the oil and gas industry and that there is already an overwhelming volume of peer reviewed scientific, medical and public health research that documents the negative impacts of fracking on communities and the climate. This includes the highly respected, annually updated Compendium of Scientific and Medical findings by Physicians for Social Responsibility and Concerned Health Professionals New York (i)

There is a strong belief amongst community campaigners, who have been working on the issue for over a decade, that in light of the ever-growing availability of existing peer reviewed research on fracking that the new study commissioned by the Department for the Economy was unnecessary. Public opposition to licenses that will invariably result in fracking has been overwhelming. A day before the tender for the DFE study was awarded the Northern Ireland Assembly voted unanimously in support of an immediate moratorium on the issuing petroleum licenses. (Oct 13th 2020). There were also over 5,700 public submissions opposing the EHA and Tamboran license applications while Fermanagh and Omagh and District Council called for a ban on oil/gas prospecting in the DFI Strategic Planning Policy Statement. Over 80 NGO’s 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. (ii)

Tom White of Belcoo Frack Free said

“The evidence is conclusive with regards to fracking and its risks to public health, the environment and the climate. We need the Executive to take the actions the Assembly gave them a mandate to do, namely enact the motion of October 13th 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 industry here in Fermanagh and across other areas of Northern Ireland. “

Dr Carroll O Dolan from the Fermanagh Fracking Awareness Network said

“The risks of this industry to our health, environment, climate, communities, jobs and prosperity is too high to allow these companies a foot hold in the province. We need the issuing of licenses to stop immediately. We are asking the public to get on to their politicians and ask for this.”

For more information or interview please contact

Tom White (Belcoo Frack Free)
0044 7747 010308

Dr Carroll O Dolan (Fermanagh Fracking Awareness Network)
00447780684531

For further information

(i) https://concernedhealthny.org/compendium/

(ii) http://www.safetybeforelng.ie/pressreleases/pressrelease20201127GroundsForUrgentNIExecutiveBanOnFrackingAndDrilling.html

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