Following a documentary showing the impact of fracking on rural communities, local people in Leitrim realised the danger of fracking and were worried about its impacts. Gatherings were attended by up to 80 local people in Co. Leitrim to set up an environmental campaign.
Throughout 2011, many meetings were held including two major meetings with pros and cons stakeholders of fracking (i.e. Richard Moorman, CEO of Tamboran, and Aedín McLoughlin, not yet CEO of GEAI) attended by over 300 people both held in the Bush Hotel of Carrick-on-Shannon.
Campaigners decided to found an organisation that would focus on building credibility, advocacy, and political lobbying on a national scale, which would be more effective.
In January 2012, the first meeting of a new committee was held, and eight Directors signed up for a Company Limited by Guarantee to ensure our status. Good Energies Alliance Ireland was born.
From the start, GEAI actively campaigned against fracking and promoted renewable energies, including organising two international conferences. Our research showed that fracking has disastrous impacts on the environment (land, air, water) and on humans (public health). The NGO was to the forefront of the campaign against fracking, focused on raising awareness through meetings with communities; advocacy, especially with political parties; and peaceful direct action, e.g. marches and demonstrations outside local and national government offices.
In the beginning there were just a few local people mobilized, but they never gave up. To win out over the oil and gas industry, which was already lobbying nationally, campaigners knew that they would need to fight nationally at the same level of government.
The campaign goes national
A crucial milestone in the campaign was the “Stop the Study” initiative in 2015 which brought the campaign into Leinster House and raised awareness among politicians of all parties.
Success was achieved in 2017 when legislation was signed into law, banning on-shore fracking in Ireland. A real victory for GEAI’s team and the other organisations who were partners in the campaign.
Even if our fight concluded positively for the Republic of Ireland, it is not finished. GEAI strongly supports the campaign to ban fracking in Northern Ireland, and also all countries around the world who still face this problem.
Since the beginning, Aedín McLoughlin, Liam Breslin, and Leslie O’Hora, current directors, were Founding Members of GEAI, and they are still very active in GEAI now focusing on climate action and sustainable development.