Northern Irish Activists Mobilize Farmers against Fracking


Northern Irish Activists Mobilize Farmers against FrackingAn anti-fracking organization in Belcoo in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, is trying to convince farmers to vow “not on my land” as it tries to prevent fracking companies from gaining a foothold in the area.

Belcoo Frack Free is rolling out its “Lock the Gate” exercise, which will see it request farmers and landowners to sign up against allowing fracking, also known as hydraulic fracturing, on their land. The group believes the campaign will reduce the commercial viability of such activities in the area.

In an interview with the Fermanagh Herald, anti-fracking activist Donal O’ Cofaigh said while the decision by the Environment Minister Mark H Durkan to delay fracking activities was a welcome gesture, more still needs to be done.

Mr. Durkan rejected an application by energy firm Tamboran to carry out drilling activities in a site near Belcoo, temporarily blocking its plans. However, Tamboran can head to the courts to have the decision reversed, submit an application for full planning permission for its Belcoo drilling site, which may take a maximum of one year; or opt to drill elsewhere.

Mr. O’ Cofaigh, who unsuccessfully vied in local elections as an anti-fracking candidate earlier in May, effusively praised his fellow campaigners who he says have done a commendable job since Tamboran set up camp in the area in July 21.

“When Tamboran came in, they erected the razor wire fence, they had guard dogs, the security guys – the community was very angered. There was also a fear and I think it emboldened people to actually get involved and we had that protest that same day on the Monday,” said Mr. O’Cofaigh.

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