Campaign in Northern Ireland
The fight against drilling in Fermanagh – 2014
There was a major crisis in July 2014, when Tamboran Resources announced its plans to drill a deep borehole in a quarry in Belcoo, County Fermanagh, and moved men and machinery on site. GEAI supported the protest in several ways. Members gave presentations to many groups who were not familiar with the problems associated with fracking; they also assisted in drafting flyers, posters and campaign material.
GEAI was very active on Global Frackdown Day in Fermanagh, supporting events throughout the day and producing publicity material.
In September, Leitrim County Council had to amend the policy statement concerning the ban on fracking in the draft Development Plan. GEAI members were very involved in the drafting of the new policy statement. Alternative wording affirmed the ban and was accepted unanimously.
Awareness-raising presentations and discussions
- Presentations given to Ballinlea Residents, Antrim; Several groups in Fermanagh, European Anglers Alliance, Cork.
- Participated in webinar on Climate Change organised by Mercy International; discussion session with Fr Sean McDonough, a member of the IPCC Climate Committee.
- Participated in Health Impact Assessment seminar in May, together with Love Leitrim and FFAN. Paper arising from Seminar.
- Became a member of People’s Energy Charter, with the goal of strengthening Public Participation in policy-making by Government
Dr Aedin McLoughlin on a People’s Energy Charter meeting
Frackdown Day, September 2014
22nd September 2014 was Global Frackdown day. Many events were organised throughout Ireland to mark this day. GEAI was very involved with the Fermanagh Frackdown Day, which included a demonstration outside the Belcoo camp and gates and participation in the Frackdown Day event in Mullaghdun Community Centre, Fermanagh.
Love Leitrim organised a gathering in the Marketplace, Manorhamilton, County Leitrim. Many anti-fracking groups attended the event including GEAI.
Watch video Beautiful Fermanagh – Not For Shale
Drilling in Woodburn Forest / Stop the Drill – 2016
In May 2016 Infrastrata announced that they had started to drill the well in Woodburn Forest, north of Belfast. The site was 400 metres from water reservoirs serving Belfast homes. The well would go down more than 6,000 feet and would explore for oil and gas. The drilling would continue for six weeks.
The campaigners kept an eye on the site as the drill operated day and night and descendede into the earth at a rate of 1,000 feet per day.
On 6th June a rally outside Stormont in Belfast took place. Over 100 campaigners gathered to show solidarity with the Stop the Drill campaign and to protest against the introduction of the petroleum extractive industry in Northern Ireland. From all over Ireland people came – Leitrim, Fermanagh, Sligo, Antrim, Down, Armagh, Roscommon and Clare, joined by members of political parties and Trade Unions.
At the end of June the news broke that Infrastrata had drilled 2,000 metres underground at Woodburn Forest, Carrickfergus but found brine (high concentrated salty water) instead of oil in their two target rock formations.
STATEMENT FROM GEAI SPOKESPERSON AEDÍN MCLOUGHLIN
“We are so delighted that the drill failed to find oil. What was so frightening about this drilling was the evident collusion between politicians, civil servants, local authorities and PSNI, who worked together to facilitate this dirty industry drilling without full planning process, environmental impact assessment or public consultation. Coupled with this was the inability of the local campaigners to stop, or even delay, the drilling, despite heroic efforts by campaigners and complete dedication to the Stop the Drill campaign.
All we could do at the end of the day was to pray for a dry well, we got one and thank God for that. But what a close call! We can and are celebrating this weekend, but at the back of everyone’s mind is the Infrastrata declaration in their Press Release: ‘the joint venture will now fully evaluate the data collected in the well and decide where to focus its future exploration activity in the basin’. The war is not over!”
STATEMENT FROM MEG RYBICKI, NORTHWEST NETWORK AGAINST FRACKING
Meg Rybicki from Northwest Network against Fracking warned that this success is not the end of the campaign.
“The scale of the struggle we are facing is now clear. To stop fracking in Ireland will require a united all-island effort that will engage all sectors – communities, activists, political parties and representatives, and lean on the massive international support that is available to us. This is what the campaign against fracking will now focus on. A ban against fracking North and South must be implemented. Valuable lessons have been learned and using these, we will succeed in keeping fracking out of Ireland!”