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]
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.
An information evening highlighting the potential impact of drilling on the land will be held at Cashel Community Centre on Tuesday April 17th at 9pm. The guest speaker on the night is local farmer, Eddie Mitchell, all are very welcome and discussion at the event will be encouraged.
If you live in or near Belcoo or Cashel, and would be interested in joining a local fracking awareness group, now is your opportunity! Meetings will be held on Wednesday 29th February at 7.30pm in the Parish Centre, Belcoo and on Thursday 1st March at 7.00pm in the Community Centre, Cashel. All are very welcome and we look forward to meeting you.
Our recent Fracking awareness meetings in Florencecourt and Cashel have been well attended by local people including many from the farming community. There was also a good turnout of fishermen at the Cashel meeting.
Farmers were particularly concerned about the potential impact of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) on the local agri-food industry. These small businesses are dependent on quality production to maintain their position in this niche market. The slightest suggestion of contamination of beef or milk could mean financial ruin. Speaking after the meeting Dr Carroll O’Dolan, spokesperson for FFAN, noted that where the farming community are struggling to survive in the current economic climate “even the perception of contamination could destroy the local agri-food industry”. At the end of the Cashel meeting committee members of the Garrison-Lough Melvin Anglers Association spoke of their concerns about fracking and its impact on the fishing on the famous waters of Lough Melvin.
Farmers who had diversified into tourism were equally anxious. They spoke of huge personal and public investments in Fermanagh’s tourism industry. This investment has created a brand recognised both nationally and internationally – ‘Fermanagh welcomes you naturally’. But will tourists still want to come here if Fermanagh loses its green and clean image to become one of concrete, heavy industry and heavy traffic? If there is a long term risk of water contamination and/or toxic chemicals getting into the food chain how will our fishing and Lakelands fare? There is a real concern that secure jobs in Fermanagh’s tourism industry could be under threat if ‘fracking’ is allowed to go ahead to be replaced by short term “potential” jobs.
Looking ahead, many were concerned about what happens when the extraction process is over. “Industrialised land” covered with concrete and contaminated with chemicals both above & below ground, cannot be farmed; indeed the landowners may find themselves responsible for difficult and expensive clean-up operations.
Other farmers were downright angry; if they are strictly regulated and penalised if they deviate from DARD & DOE regulations, then why were four exploration licenses for shale gas and oil extraction issued in Northern Ireland with very little consideration as to the impacts on health, the environment, the rural way of life and no public consultation?
Fracking for unconventional gas and oil is a relatively new technology which is causing much controversy around the world and has been banned or put on hold in many regions. It is significantly different from fracking for conventional gas & oil reserves, which has been used for the last sixty years. The British Geological Survey has concluded that fracking was the likely cause of the recent earthquakes near Blackpool, and that these earthquakes were between 10-100 times stronger than the usual low-level seismic activity that can normally occur in that area. A recent poll in the Guardian newspaper showed that 68.3% of respondents were opposed to fracking in the UK.
Closing the meeting in Florencecourt Dr O’Dolan said “We don’t know the long term impact that fracking will have on our health and the environment thus the precautionary principle should apply. The Governments should wait for the outcome of the very detailed studies being carried out in the USA & Europe, and both due for release in 2014. The ‘Sure we’ll see how it goes, if it turns out bad we’ll stop’ attitude is too dangerous.”
Meetings to share information about shale gas extraction and hydraulic fracturing will be held at Cashel Community Centre on Tuesday 11th October and Tuesday 8th November, both at 8pm. All are very welcome.