Fears that fracking could become a reality in Co Fermanagh.
Leitrim County Council is seeking an urgent meeting with their counterparts in the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council and both the council and individual councillors will also be making submissions in a bid to stop the latest bid by a UK company to secure a Petroleum Licence.
Tamboran Resources (UK) Ltd lodged an application for a licence with Northern Ireland’s Department for the Economy in May.
Cllr Mary Bohan raised the issue at last Friday's first meeting of the new council noting that there was “only a very short time for submissions to be made” on the application.
“We need to make a strong submission (by July 5) objecting to this and I also propose that we write to our Minister for Environment and ask the Irish government to lodge an objection as well,” she said.
“This (licence) is affecting areas right along the (Leitrim's) border and if it goes through they may as well be drilling in Dowra and Manorhamilton.”
“This is very concerning. As a council we put a ban on fracking in the County Development Plan, and Love Leitrim with the support of other groups, we achieved a total ban, but now we have this situation where Tamboran are again applying for a licence in Northern Ireland. This would be an absolute disaster for our county and our country.
Her proposals were seconded by Cllr Padraig Fallon who also proposed that individual councillors and members of the public also be encouraged to make submissions on the licence to the NI Department for the Economy.
He said a delegation of councillors from Leitrim should also seek to meet with counterparts in the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council as a “matter of extreme urgency”.
Cllr Sean McDermott added his support to the proposals stating that there are two lakes straddling the border and “whatever takes place in Northern Ireland will impact here”.
Cllr Des Guckian also backed the proposals noting “fracking and the pollution associated with it knows no borders,” adding “the Shannon rises in Co Fermanagh too, this will be felt all the way down to Limerick”.
Cllr Gerry Dolan agreed adding that “we have to act now” while Cllr Felim Gurn said the potential devastation fracking will cause, environmentally and for the tourism industry, is unacceptable.
Sinn Fein to make submission on application
Sligo-Leitrim TD, Martin Kenny, said his party will be drafting a submission on Tamboran's application for a licence and he will be making his own submission.
“The fact this application is being made in an area of such historical and environmental significance, is appalling,” he said. There is a very real fear that fracking is once again rearing its ugly head and we have to work together, across all parties and on both sides of the border, to see that fracking is stopped for good on this island,” said the Sligo-Leitrim Deputy.
To make a submission
Members of the public can email submissions on the licence application to firstname.lastname@example.org and more information is available on www.economy-ni.gov.uk about the application and how to make a submission.