Over 100 campaigners gathered yesterday outside Stormont 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.

2016-06-06_Stormont Rally and Debate (7)

Rally at Stormont

“This was truly an all-Ireland gathering to show the growing strength of the anti-fracking campaign,” said Aedín McLoughlin, Spokesperson for GEAI.  “We stood together with our fellow campaigners from North and South and pledged our continuing support for all efforts to stop this destructive industry from gaining a foothold in Ireland.  We are well aware that this drill by Infrastrata in north Belfast is only an exploratory drill but what happens if they hit oil or gas?  Then the scenario changes to the extraction phase with plans for hundreds of well, using thousands of vehicles per well, high risks of environment and human health damage, water pollution, and communities as well as the earth shattered.”

“The only way to stop this industry in its tracks is to impose NOW a ban on all on-shore exploration and extraction of hydrocarbons (oil and gas) from rock.  Nothing less will be enough.  We have already heard the weasel words from the industry, “We are not using fracking”.  Maybe not while drilling an exploratory well.  But for extraction of oil or gas on a commercial scale from rock, there is no other way than by shattering the rock using water and chemicals, with multiple wells over large areas of land.  Fracked land is fracked land and the impacts on communities is the same, regardless of the details of extraction.”

“We call for the governments of Ireland and Northern Ireland to pass legislation now, as a matter of urgency, to impose a ban on all on-shore exploration and extraction of hydrocarbons (oil and gas) from rock,” Aedín concluded.