Events in Carrick-on-Shannon and Manorhamilton last Saturday coincided with over 100 protests being held worldwide as part of a ‘Global Frackdown Day of Action.’
Events in Leitrim, Dublin, Galway, Cork and Belfast were held in conjunction with demonstrations over the US, Europe and Australia, with all calling for a ban on the process of Hydraulic Fracturing.
In Carrick, some 150 protestors lined the bridge across the Shannon where a flotilla of boats met with marching anti frackers carrying home made banners.
In Manorhamilton there were around 200 people out for the ‘Family Day’ which had emphasis on the fun, but had a very serious message - “No fracking here.”
Both events featured open-air traditional music sessions and children’s face-painting in the afternoon sunshine, while a number of business premises in both towns also displayed anti-fracking posters.
In Manorhamilton, sessions were performed by The Unwanted (Cathy Jordan, Seamie O’Dowd & Rick Epping), as well as Rossa O’Snodaigh, members of Kila and Dervish on the Market Square.
Speaking in Carrick, Sinn Féin spokesman on natural resources Michael Colreavy TD said the extraction process had the potential to turn the area into “an industrial wasteland” and called explicitly for Hydraulic Fracturing to be banned.
Independent TD Luke Ming Flanagan said voters could send a powerful signal in the 2014 local elections.
Aghacashel organic farmer Mary Rose Geoghegan warned other farmers of the danger that Fracking posed to their livelihoods. Visiting campaigners from the Woodland League and Shell to Sea also made contributions.
The two Leitrim events were also linked when Rossa O’Snodaigh played a few tunes over the phone through the public address system in Carrick from his base at the Love Leitrim organised event in Manorhamilton.
No Fracking Ireland attached a series of banners listing twelve county names - to the bridge across the Shannon. This part of the protest was meant to convey forcefully that Fracking is not an issue that is local to Leitrim.
The event held in Dublin was instigated by Young Friends of the Earth who recently travelled to Leitrim to hear from locals in Leitrim on the issue. The key banner in their event read ‘Frack Leitrim - Poison Dublin’.
After speeches those present marched through Carrick on Shannon to the post office. The crowd cheered the posting of letters conveying a new demand of No Fracking Ireland to twelve County Councils. That demand is that these councils, including Leitrim and Roscommon County Councils, insert a blunt ban on fracking into their county development plans.
Those who came out for the event in the county town were greeted by a large Garda presence.