Over 70 anti-fracking campaigners protested outside Leitrim Council Chambers on Monday, December 2, ahead of the monthly meeting.
The protestors were calling on councillors to ban fracking and many were under the impression that a ban on fracking was going to be debated at the meeting. However it quickly emerged that a debate was not on the cards as the draft version of the County Development Plan has yet to be finalised.
Proposed wording dealing with the issue of fracking was put to councillors in committee prior to the meeting but this was rejected and representatives of the main parties along with an Independent representative, will now work with the Local Authority to propose new wording.
This new version will be incorporated into the draft County Development Plan and will come back before the Chamber on December 16 for further discussion.
In a statement issued after the protest, No Fracking Ireland campaigners vowed to continue to lobby councillors for a ban.
“We wish to see councillors put the interests of the people of this county first, not their political allegiances, and we believe the vast majority of councillors will do so on December 16,” the statement said calling this decision the most important these “councillors will ever have to face”.
“We understand this industry being prohibited by councillors in the County Development Plan will not stop the government from allowing it to proceed, if it so chooses, but it will send a clear message.”
Last week Regional Director of Tamboran Resources, the company who want to frack for gas in the North West, told an Energy Forum that they expect to drill it’s first exploratory bore hole in Fermanagh by the end of 2013.
Tony Bazley told the conference that Tamboran are “dedicated to safe and responsible development, to minimise social environmental impacts.”
“Against, are those wanting no fossil fuels at all to be used or local disturbance of any sort.
“For, are those wanting jobs and a vibrant economy who know it can be done safely, with lower CO2 emissions and not harming the environment,” he stated.
Mr Bazley’s presentation added “It will not harm tourism”. He also said it will not harm agriculture or wildlife.
It is understood that this exploratory bore hole will be drilled in early January. It is not fracking, but is part of the examination process which the company have a licence for.
The bore hole is one of the final parts of the examination phase. It will provide a greater analysis of the rock samples and the results will influence if the company will proceed to the next phase and seek planning permission for hydraulic fracturing.
A bore hole can be anything from 200m - 1,000m deep.