Fracking in Fermanagh – the film

The premiere of the film Fracking in Fermanagh: What could it mean?, made by local young people and facilitated by the Development Media Workshop, was a  great success.  As Meadhbh Monahan writes in this week’s Impartial Reporter:

“The Ardhowen Theatre was sold out on Tuesday night with gasps and angry exclamations heard in reaction to what was shown on screen.

The film narrator explains that Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster was approached twice for an interview but declined. This was met by boos and shouting from the crowd. During a panel discussion after the film, Enniskillen actor Ciarán McMenamin said: “It’s good to see that our young people have our interests at heart, even if our politicians do not.”

The majority of Fermanagh folk are not aware of the magnitude of what fracking involves, the audience heard.


Tamboran Resources plans to create 60 fracking pads in Fermanagh (each pad will be about seven acres in size, and concreted), one mile apart, covering 40,000 acres.

“This will have a terribly detrimental affect” on Fermanagh changing it from a scenic, rural area into a heavily industrialised zone dotted with frack pads, the audience heard.

During the film, local farmer John Sheridan, who lives in the shadow of Cuilcagh mountain, says that chemicals brought up from deep underground during the fracking process are very likely to spill into our ground water, thereby leaking into our lakes and rivers and subsequently into our food chain. These chemicals could also evaporate from ponds on the frack sites, causing air pollution.

He is backed up by Jessica Ernst who says: “They are bringing up unknowns that have been locked underground for millennia,” including naturally occurring heavy metals and radioactive materials such as arsenic, cadmium, chromium, thorium and uranium (all carcinogens which can cause cancer and respiratory diseases in humans). Air may also be contaminated by volatile chemicals released during drilling (combustion from machinery and transport) and from other operations, during methane separation or by evaporation from holding ponds, Jessica Ernst points out.

John Sheridan concludes: “Farming or fracking; it’s going to be one or the other.”

A major problem is fracking waste, the film continues. This wastewater not only contains the toxic and hazardous chemicals used in fracking fluid but also contains contaminants that it picks up from deep within the earth, most notably heavy metals, volatile organic compounds, salty brine and radioactive materials.

“In Alberta, money was given to farmers to spread this waste on their land,” Jessica Ernst says. Photos of this waste spreading process were met by gasps of shock by the audience. “What becomes of the drilling waste is a big hole in the story that fracking companies are not telling us,” she states.

Belcoo father-of-five Sean Sweeney tells film-makers that he needs to feed his family so he was initially happy to hear of the potential fracking jobs coming to Fermanagh. However, after researching the process, he says: “No way. These people are dealing with toxic waste and chemicals. Why would I expose myself and my family to that?” He says if Fermanagh allows Tamboran to frack, locals will have ruined the landscape for future generations and will have noone to blame but themselves. He received laughs and applause when he quipped that the new Ulster Way brochures would have to state: “Here’s your gas mask, mind the lorries and enjoy your walk!”

Terry McGovern Chairman of the Lough Melvin Anglers Association is worried about copious amounts of water being taken from Lough Melvin and then pumped back in. “What state is it going to be in?” He worries that the approximate 700-800 jobs in the local fishing industry could be jeopardised if fracking gets the go-ahead.

Local caver Tim Fogg takes viewers to St. Patrick’s Holy Well in Belcoo where water rises from an underground spring at 45 litres per second. He points out that very little is known about where these springs originate, adding: “It doesn’t add up that you can just move into the area and drill without knowledge of the hydrology of the area.”

Canadian environmental scientist Jessica Ernst, who has experienced fracking near her farm in Alberta for the past 10 years, says: “I thought not being able to trust my drinking water was the worst affect of fracking but it’s the division of the community. The promise of money to some makes them obedient. I have witnessed heartbreaking betrayals on neighbours. Rural communities no longer take care of themselves as they used to. Whereas before they could fix the roof of their community centre themselves, now they are running to the company looking for money. There’s a loss of pride.”

She also warns farmers of the “dire impact” of fracking, saying: “Be careful what you believe. Farmers in Alberta had to fight for the money they were promised.” In addition, farmers in Alberta were left liable for the gas mitigation from frack sites, meaning they could not use the land once the frackers left, but were still responsible for the clean up.”

To read the article in full, please follow the link below:

Film premiere outlines ‘devastating’ effects of fracking on rural communities / Impartial Reporter / News / Roundup.

If you haven’t seen the film yet, would like to see it again, or would like to recommend it to others, it is now available to view online at



Fracking in Fermanagh – still time to book!

Tickets were sold out this week for this exciting new film, made by young people in Fermanagh, which has its world premiere at the Ardhowen Theatre, Enniskillen, on Tuesday 4th June. Fortunately, the theatre has been able to make extra seating available and so it is now possible to book a ticket.  Be quick, though, when these are gone there won’t be any more!

Book your tickets from the theatre here

Fracking in Fermanagh – last chance to book

Tickets for the premiere of the documentary film Fracking in Fermanagh are selling fast – don’t forget to book yours now.  The film will be followed by a discussion by a panel including Fermanagh-born film and TV actor Ciaran McMenamin (pictured left) and acclaimed author Carlo Gebler (below, photo credit David Barker).  The event will take place at the Ardhowen Theatre, Enniskillen, on Tuesday 4th June and tickets (£2 each) are available here.

Fracking in Fermanagh: the film premiere

This exciting new film, made by young people in Fermanagh, has its world premiere at the Ardhowen Theatre, Enniskillen, on Tuesday 4th June. Part funded by Fermanagh District Council, the film-makers interviewed a range of community members, including: farmers, doctors, tourism providers and fishermen, about the possible consequences of fracking in Fermanagh. The film-makers also interviewed medical and farming representatives from Canada, where substantial fracking has already taken place, as well as international environmental commentators.

This film will be followed by a panel discussion made up of guest speakers representing a range of perspectives.

This project has been facilitated by Enniskillen’s Development Media Workshop,

Book your tickets from the theatre here.

Forthcoming events

The Fermanagh Fracking Awareness Network, working with other local groups, is involved in a host of informative and interesting events coming up during the next few weeks, as follows:-

Saturday 6th October 2012
ALâ Community Theatre, Galway, present
‘Divide & Conquer’
Cashel Community Centre – 8pm.
Hosted by Cashel Fracking Awarness Group

Wednesday 24th October 2012
Faith & Fracking Discussion 
Facilitated by Rev Scott Peddie
Clinton Centre, Enniskillen – 8pm
Hosted by Operation Noah, Enniskillen

Monday 5th November 2012
Public Information Meeting
Guest Speaker Mr Eddie Mitchell
St Mary’s High School, Brollagh, Belleek – 8pm

Wednesday 21st November 2012
FFAN Networking Meeting
FFAN committee update & networking with interested groups
Boho Community Centre – 8pm
Hosted by Boho Aware

Wednesday 28th November 2012
Community Engagement Meeting
Supporting a local response to fracking – Facilitated by FFAN
Field Study Centre, Tir Navar, Derrygonnelly – 8pm

Come along and bring a friend to one or all of the above


For further information E-mail: [email protected]

Divide & Conquer!

This Saturday, 6th October 2012, at 8pm, the ALa Community Theatre from Galway will present a Forum Theatre Presentation, Divide & Conquer at Cashel Community Centre, County Fermanagh.  The production is hosted by Cashel Fracking Awareness Group and supported by FFAN.  For further details download the event poster here or email [email protected]  The play is also appearing on Friday 5th October at the Bush Hotel, Carrick-on-Shannon supported by Good Energy Alliance Ireland.

Rock against shale?

This Friday night (18th May), Charlie’s Bar, Enniskillen hosts a rock night in aid of Fermanagh Fracking Awareness Network (FFAN). Setting Off Sirens, The Bootleggers and the Joy of Six will be playing to show their support and raise funds for the Network.

The idea for the gig arose from a conversation between two local musicians about their concerns about the (potential) risks of hydraulic fracturing (‘fracking’). Kevin McHugh and Martin McNamee agreed that the best way they could help raise awareness was to organise a gig.

For Martin, a keen fisherman, it’s his love of the outdoors and the beauty of the area that has spurred him to action. Kevin agrees, ‘I love where I live and don’t want to see it buried under concrete.’

Kevin sings in Setting Off Sirens, who describe themselves as half deaf, middle-aged punks who should and do know better. ‘Normally, we don’t align ourselves with any organisation,’ he says, ‘but this is one instance where we feel we need to wear our hearts on our sleeves. This will affect everyone.’

Martin’s band The Bootleggers have been around for 13 years and have played the length and breadth of the country with a set of classic rock covers guaranteed to put a smile on even the most world-weary face.

The Joy of Six, formed in 2010, describe their sound as somewhere between goth, punk, death rock and rockabilly. They mix original material in with covers of the Ramones, Sisters of Mercy and Adam and the Ants (to name but a few).

The Joy of Six

The gig begins at 8.30pm and admission is only £5.  All are very welcome (sorry, no under 18s) and we’re looking forward to a great night.

Fracking fundraising gig!

You are very warmly invited to an evening of diverse music and unbelievable wit with The Janzen Four, an a capella harmony quartet, Kevin McAleer, one of Ireland’s top comedians, and the Coalition Blues Band, an international collective of musicians who play the blues.

The event is being held on Saturday 11 February from 8pm at Level 7, Blake’s Bars, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh.

Tickets are £10 and all proceeds will go to the Fermanagh Fracking Awareness Network.  Tickets are available from Janie Crone on +44 (0) 07593962574 ,  email
[email protected] or on the door.


The Janzen Four

The Janzen Four are an a capella harmony quartet blending arrangements of contemporary songs and doo-wop classics from the 50s & 60s.  A typical set includes ‘Valerie’ by Amy Winehouse, Elton John’s ‘Rocketman’, ‘Stand by Me’ by Ben E King and Van Morrison’s ‘Moondance’.

All living in the Fermanagh & Cavan border area, Esther, Maggie, Kate & Sandy bring a refreshing mix of vocal harmonies to any event.

“Their increasing popularity is because they can create just the right ambience at any function. Their performances contain a mix of old favourites and new numbers combined with the excellent vocals means that The Janzen Four has become the essential soundtrack to events and social occasions.” Contemporary Living Magazine

The group has performed at a variety of events, most notably, the Flatlake Festival in Co. Monaghan in 2011; The Sow the Seed concert at the Strule Arts Centre in Omagh, as well as a variety of exhibition openings and festivals.

You can watch previous performances on the group’s website


Kevin McAleer

Kevin McAleer has been telling hilariously deadpan rustic yarns since the early 1980’s. His sublime wit, slow County Tyrone drawl and forays into paranoiac delusion have entertained audiences the length and breadth of Ireland.

Kevin McAleer is one of Ireland’s top comedians and a founding father of the modern standup, inspiring a whole generation of comedians in Ireland and the UK.

The Sunday Times credit the Omagh man with having put the ‘pan in deadpan – others say he put the dead bit in; someone else said he put the ‘nse’ in nonsense.His carefully polished scripts, with not a word out of place, have often been likened to Beckett and Flann O’Brien, while the timing and delivery are uniquely his own.


The Coalition Blues Band

The Coalition Blues Band is an international collective of musicians from America, England and Ireland and based in Co. Fermanagh. The Band comprises Melissa McKeague on lead vocals, Maurice Collins and Dave Mc Dowell both on guitars and vocals, Richard Ireson on Bass, Des Campbell on drums, Jeanne Munro guesting on keyboard and vocals and Ed Beattie on Harmonica.

The Band is part of a wider Fermanagh Blues Club (Fermanagh “Small Male Chicken” Blues Club) which at just over a year old has a very healthy and loyal following at its gigs. The disparate musical backgrounds and tastes of the new combo were varied so the name – Coalition Blues Band – seemed apt and of course was not influenced in any way by parallel political events in Westminster at the time!

The Band performs regularly around different venues in Enniskillen and other Border counties and holds a monthly open mike night to watch out for.

Keep in touch by visiting the Blues club online on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube

And don’t forget, the gig takes place on Saturday 11 February from 8pm at Level 7, Blake’s Bars – we look forward to a great night and to seeing you all there!