Calls for a ban on fracking in Northern Ireland

Fiona Heavey

Reporter:

Fiona Heavey

Call to 'Back the Bill'

Local fishermen taking part in the 'Back the Bill campaign on Lough MacNean, Blacklion

A bill to ban fracking by SDLP Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA Richie McPhillips this week has been welcomed in Leitrim.

In his statement Mr Mc Phillips made reference to the developments toward banning fracking in Scotland and Southern Ireland. Deputy Tony McLoughlins’ private members bill received unanimous cross party support on October 27 moving it to its next stage on its journey to become law in Ireland.

Eddie Mitchell of Love Leitrim said, “We are absolutely delighted to see the beginnings of a movement to ban fracking on these islands. There’s a fantastic appetite for change and the politicians are listening to their people.

"What happens in Northern Ireland has a direct influence over the Republic of Ireland, including places like Fermanagh, which borders Leitrim."

Eddie Mitchell noted with concern, “We are worried as we feel Fermanagh is wide open for an exploration company to come in. The likes of the current draft community and development plan there doesn’t protect communities in Fermanagh from predators in the oil and gas industry getting planning permission, and coming in to search for shale gas. So we welcome these moves in central government level to ban fracking. However, its imperative we feel that people are also safeguarded on a local level. The local plan desperately needs to be updated to protect its people better and reflect the will of the public just like we did in Leitrim. We cant afford any avenue left open to let fracking in."