On Saturday, September 22 as part of a co-ordinated, global day of protest, hundreds of people in Leitrim came out in support of a ban on ‘fracking’ in Ireland. As part of this day of protest, campaigners from No Fracking Ireland wrote to the various County Councils that have vast areas of land zoned for fracking, asking them to insert a clause into their County Development Plans clearly stating that hydraulic fracturing (fracking) would not be permitted within their respective counties.
In response to this request Leitrim County Council Manager, Jackie Maguire recently told the Leitrim Observer that “she had previously advised that councillors could not amend the plan to put in place an outright ban and that situation remained unchanged. Ms. Maguire noted that any change in the County Development Plan had to be made in accordance with Government Policy.”
Speaking at a recent Council meeting Ms. Maguire stated, “…the fact is that the Government has yet to rule on hydraulic fracturing on a national level. Until that outcome is decided and the Minister makes a decision on it, hydraulic fracturing does not form part of any national policy and you cannot amend the Development Plan to put in place an outright ban.”
Anti-fracking campaigners believe that this advice and information from the County Council Manager is in fact incorrect. After seeking legal advice on the issue campaigners now fully understand that there is in fact nothing stopping the elected members of Leitrim County Council from amending the County Development Plan to prohibit ‘fracking’.
In response to the same request to Donegal County Council, No Fracking Ireland are delighted to have received the following letter from Denis Kelly, Senior Executive Planner in Donegal County Council –
“I refer to your correspondence received 25th September 2012 in respect of your concern regarding the potential impact that shale gas extraction may have upon the environment and the need to ban it. I am to advise that this issue formed part of the consideration of the County Development Plan 2012-2018, whereby a list of policies and objectives have been incorporated into the plan that provide for the protection of the environment. I can also conform that policy E-D-8, (section 7.2.3 of the plan) states ‘’It is a policy of Donegal County Council that the process of Hydraulic Fracturing (or Fracking) will not be permitted in the County of Donegal. Therefore, this council will not allow the intrusive shale gas extraction practices.’’
Campaigners involved in the grassroots network No Fracking Ireland congratulate Donegal County Council for taking the necessary steps on this serious issue and respectfully ask public representatives in Leitrim County Council to follow suit. “We hope politics, money or misinformation does not get in the way of protecting the most important natural resources we have, our air, land and water and most importantly the health of our children for generations to come, we should be doing everything we can to ensure fracking which has been proven to be detrimental on many levels, never takes place here. We better speak up now before it’s too late.”