Today, the BBC reported that Minister of the Department of the Environment, Mr Mark H. Durkin MLA, visited the town of Enniskillen, County Fermanagh to discuss topics relating to Unconventional Shale Gas Extraction within County Fermanagh.
The talks were held with the Fermanagh Fracking Awareness Network, Ban Fracking Fermanagh, Sinn Fein representatives Mr. Phil Flanagan MLA, Ms. Michelle Gildernew MP, Mr. Michael Colreavy TD, and SDLP Councillor Mr. Brendan Gallagher. Further to this, the meeting was attended by concerned citizens of Belcoo, where a proposed exploratory well bore is due to take place.
The BBC report:
Tamboran Resources wants to drill an exploratory borehole in a quarry near Belcoo to find out how much shale gas is in the ground.
Opponents see it as a first step that could lead to fracking.
Mr Durkan said his department would take into account people’s concerns before deciding if drilling can go ahead.
“There were a lot of suggestions today as to what and how my department should be looking at this notification or application from Tamboran,” he said.
“There are a number of environmental concerns, health concerns, economic concerns and all of these are concerns that I have listened to today and that I will certainly consider when assessing this from Tamboran.”
Thomas McCaffrey, of the Fermanagh Fracking Awareness Network, said the test drill should be subject to a full planning application with an environmental impact assessment and potentially a public health impact assessment.
“We consider it to be unconventional gas exploration and extraction as one whole process and you can’t separate out the drilling of an initial exploratory borehole from the whole process of unconventional gas extraction,” he said.
“We impressed upon him the need for the public to see that their politicians are doing something to alleviate the situation, because people are out there camping and, if nothing’s done, they’re going to be there in December, because people are that passionate about it, they’re not going to leave until they’re convinced that something is being done about it.
“We want to impress upon him the public’s anger and concern that they are afraid about what is happening on their doorstep without any consultation from the company at all.”
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