Decision of Northern Environment Minister on Fracking welcome relief – Feeley

Fianna Fáil Councillor, John Paul Feeley has warmly welcomed the decision of Mark H Durkan, Stormont Minister for the Environment to require Tamboran Resources to seek planning permission for there proposed drilling activity outside Belcoo, County Fermanagh. ‘Minister Durkan rejected the Tamboran Resources contention that this work was permitted development and could proceed without further consents. This decision requires that such works file for full planning permission and submit a detailed Environmental Impact Assessment. This announcement is a welcome relief for the people of the region and in particular the people of the Belcoo area and all of us who live around Lough MacNean.’ ‘The local community have maintained a dignified presence at the proposed site for the past few weeks since the early morning arrival of workers to erect a razor-wire fence and associated works. During that time a peaceful and respectful vigil has been maintained by a community fearful of the environmental impact of fracking and the potential devastation of the area for future generations. ‘The potential downsides of fracking are immense, environmentally, visually, economically and most importantly from a human health prospective. As such we need to step-back and have a full and comprehensive study using the best international experts. Only when we can be absolutely certain of the potential of fracking can the country make any informed decision, until then, nothing should be done to harm our environment and all invasive exploratory work should cease.’ I have heard some simplistic arguments advances. Fracking is no small deal, it is not equivalent to a quarry, new road or power-line. It is a highly invasive and unquantifiable activity which has the potential to damage the two major watercourses in Ireland, the Shannon and Erne. At my request, two weeks ago, Cavan County Council met and agreed a motion calling for all works to cease and for a detailed study to be completed on fracking and all it’s implications. Similar motions were agreed in Leitrim and Fermanagh. The Government and the Stormont Executive must take careful note of the wishes of the people and stop fracking. -ENDS-