Minister White left in no doubt about the concerns regarding Fracking – Feeley

Fianna Fáil Councillor, John Paul Feeley as part of a delegation from Cavan and Leitrim County Councils with Alex White, TD, Minster for Communications & Natural Resources, Joe McHugh TD, Minister of State and senior officials from the Department made clear the serious concerns of the local community about the prospect of fracking. ‘As representatives of the Council we left the two Minsters and their officials in no doubt about the serious, genuine and widespread concerns about fracking. We set out clearly the many issues that give rise for these concerns’ Describing the meeting as ‘frank and useful’, Councillor Feeley confirmed that Minister White stated that there is ‘an effective moratorium’ in place pending the completion of a study into fracking by the EPA and the consideration of that and other data by the Department. ‘We advised the Minster of some concerns regarding the Terms of Reference of the EPA report and the composition of the experts involved. He did take our concerns on board. I was also somewhat reassured that the EPA Report would only form part of the considerations as to the view of the Government on fracking in the future.’ ‘The potential implication of fracking could be severe and irreversible. Simply relying on one report without carefully considering all the implications for a community would not be acceptable.’ Finally the delegation asked that the Minster and his Department engage with the Stormont Executive to avoid the situation which appears to exist at present where the Northern authorities are at a more advanced stage. ‘Simply replying on EU Directives regarding notification is not enough. It is vital that there is comprehensive consultation on an All-Ireland basis to prevent fracking or any related activity happening in Ireland at the whim of the British Government. Concluding, Councillor Feeley stated that whilst he was happy with the meeting with Minister White and his colleagues it was vital that the local community maintained a vigilance in relation to fracking and in highlighting the concerns regarding fracking. ENDS