National school teacher Cecily Gilligan walked into a rousing welcome when she finished her 133 mile trek across Ireland from Leitrim, ending at the Ha’penny Bridge, Dublin on Sunday, November 4 at 1pm.
Cecily walked from Manorhamilton though Killargue, Drumkeeran, Drumshanbo, Leitrim Village, Carrick-on-Shannon, Drumsna, Dromod, Longford town, Edgeworthstown, Mullingar, Kinnegad, Enfield, Lucan, and Dublin.
Supporters of her walk had planned a colourful show of appreciation on the bridge over the Liffey with balloons, flotilla of boats, and a wheelbarrow, to take the weight off what was then her blistered feet. Leitrim native and singer songwriter Eleanor Shanley from De Danann fame, award winning Irish poet and playwright Vincent Woods, actors Donal O Kelly & Sorcha Fox were amongst the crowd of well-wishers.
Cecily originally from Collooney, Co Sligo but now working in North Leitrim was inspired to walk the 133 miles to raise public awareness on a one to one level and on a national level about the dangers of hydraulic Fracturing. She also entered the Dail yesterday, Tuesday November 6 and delivered the voice of people in the area affected and call for a ban on Fracking. Giving people back a voice is the central aim of the walk.
Peoples’ voices have been lost in this process according to Love Leitrim the community group behind the walk. They believe that whilst the Irish Government has commissioned a report into Fracking public health concerns will not be addressed within this, as there is no input from the Department of Health.
Love Leitrim also believe that the Government must not grant an exploration licence, as there is such extreme concern. According to the group if the government really listened to their people they would introduce a ban.
Cecily said, “If fracking is allowed to go ahead, it will cause huge irreversible damage, it will tear the heart out of our land and our communities. This is a moral issue; the rights of Irish citizens must be protected from economic exploitation. Walking is a simple yet powerful symbol to advocate change and that’s why I chose it.”