6th June: From Game of Thrones to the Games of Politics

6th of June was a bank holiday in Ireland, a proper way to begin the summer!

Here at GEAI the volunteers celebrated by taking a road trip to Antrim  that ended up with a rally and debate at Stormont, the Northern Ireland Parliament.

On our way, we stopped at the Dark Hedges, a beautiful avenue with beech trees, planted in the 18th century near Stranocum, County Antrim. Lately it become famous thanks to the Game of Thrones that filmed several scenes on this road.13407712_10156926586265231_1719594546_n

 

After that we headed to one of the places I most wanted to see: The Giant’s Causeway. This is a World Heritage site in one of the most amazing coasts in Europe.

The Causeway was born due to volcanic activity when highly fluid molten rock was forced up through fissures in the chalk bed to form an extensive lava plateau. The rapidly cooling lava contracted and variations in the cooling rate resulted in the world famous columnar structure. The columns are mainly hexagonal though there are some with up to eight sides.

All the geological explanations will not stop me from marvelling at them. It is absolutely amazing what nature can do!

After photos and a very nice walk we moved a bit more east on the coast to see how ‘dangerous’ is the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge.

This bridge was built by a fisherman to help him get to this volcanic island that is a good place for salmon. Initially was just rope now it is made of from wood planks and ropes and it is a touristic attraction for adrenaline seekers. We were not so impressed with the ‘danger’, it is safe, just don’t look down! 🙂 The most amazing thing was the colour of the water, the landscape looked so exotic!

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After this stop we took the coastal road down to Belfast were we attended the demonstration of anti-fracking groups in front of the Parliament Buildings at Stormont making use of our “Stop the Drill” banner! Also we manage to see the debate.

To our surprise the debate was quiet and polite! But we were happy to see support in the public gallery from the campaigners against drilling in the north.

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What a day!!

 

 

 

Alice

DRILLING IN WOODBURN FOREST

They have started to drill!

Infrastrata announced on Tuesday that they have started to drill the well in Woodburn Forest, north of Belfast.  The site is 400 metres from water reservoirs serving Belfast homes.  The well will go down more than 6,000 feet and will explore for oil and gas. The drilling will continue for six weeks. This is a sad day for all the campaigners who have worked so hard to keep drilling out of Northern Ireland.

Woodburn Forest drill

The finger now must be pointed at those politicians who are doing nothing to stop this drill. It is totally disgraceful that such a huge operation could commence without an Environmental Impact Statement or, indeed, proper planning permission. Why was the loophole of “permitted development” not plugged long ago? Shame on you all!

In particular, the silence from Sinn Féin is deafening.  Having canvassed saying that getting a ban on fracking is their Number 1 priority, there is no statement from them, no action from them, no presence of them.  If this is the kind of (in)action we can expect from our politicians, God help the people of Northern Ireland!  Once fracking starts, nothing will stop it.

October 24th: Belfast experience!

No…no…There is not a festival going on 9 nights and unfortunately is already gone, but we are so busy here at GEAI and I haven’t had time to write about this wonderful experience sooner.

Big mistake since I was not just present in Belfast for the festival but I was part of it!!

Anyway…my part was not something big,

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Alice and Del ready for the show!!

I got into this just one day before the actual big evening because one of our local volunteers, Del, was going to be there with the drummers so I manage to get a place among the torch bearers. Not the ones coming along in the street but the ones performing a bit of choreography with the torches.

But wait! I haven’t said anything about what Nine Nights is!

It comes from Indian mythology: We follow the devastation of a land torn apart by war and ruled by fear, only to be overcome by a true warrior goddess in an epic battle of good over evil.

This spectacular piece of outdoor theatre takes it’s inspiration from the Hindu celebrations of Navratri (which translates to ‘Nine Nights’), Diwali & Dusshera.

The classic tale tells of a powerful demon, who became immortal and could not be killed by any weapon. He wreaked havoc and misery on the land and it’s people.

Devastated by his terror, a true female warrior was born to defeat the demon. The warrior, known as Durga, fought with the demon for nine days and nights and on the tenth day she defeated the demon and restored peace to the land.

Only on succeeding the people find there lies an even greater battle ahead. A love tested by separation leaves a despairing, true hearted soldier seeking help. Inspired by the blessings of the warrior, the soldier sets of to fight an epic battle to rescue his love from the hands of tyranny.

It was roughly one hour of flag, torches, dancers, Gods, lights, dragons and fireworks. The weather was on our side…no rain, otherwise I would be soaked waiting for my turn outside. We, the torch people were dressed all in white 😀.

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The torches

The show took part at Belfast City Hall and it was organized by ArtsEkta Northern Ireland’s leading ethnic arts organisation. A mix of cultures that offered a show about how good always defeats evil and how can we work together. It was one big event in Belfast, know for its past events and also I heard it was something new that something like this was allowed in the City Hall.

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Since I was part of it I was not allowed to have camera during so I only have some photos from the first rehearsal and I put on the link for the official video:

 

Alice

Public Consultation on Oil/Gas Licensing of Belfast and Larne Loughs

Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of Oil/Gas Licensing in Belfast Lough and Larne Lough

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) is currently developing criteria for Petroleum Licensing in Belfast and Larne Loughs (the Plan). The plan will provide a framework for how petroleum licensing will be undertaken in the internal waters of Northern Ireland.  Click HERE for more information.

View over Belfast Lough

Public Consultation
The public consultation on the Scoping Report began on the 24th April 2013 and will continue until 14th June 2013.  (http://www.sealoughs.co.uk/public-consultation/)
The consultation on the Scoping Report seeks comments on:
  • The appropriateness of the proposed scope of the SEA (this will help ensure that all issues of potential concern are considered);
  • The appropriateness of the proposed assessment methodology; and
  • Any additional sources of relevant information that could be used to inform the assessment.
Email comments should be submitted to minerals@detini.gov.uk and written submissions should be sent to:
Minerals and Petroleum Branch
Department of Enterprise, Trade & Investment
Colby House
Stranmillis Court
Stranmillis Road
Belfast, BT9 5BJ
The deadline for comments will be 14th June 2013

The EPA received 1,300 submissions regarding Terms of Reference of their proposed research study on fracking.  Oil or Gas exploration or extraction in Belfast or Larne Loughs would also include horizontal drilling and fracking. 

LET’S GET AN EQUAL NUMBER OF SUBMISSIONS TO DETI ON THESE PROPOSALS!

Also see campaign website for further information:
https://sites.google.com/site/frackingfreedocumentsireland/deti-2013

General meeting and talk by Jessica Ernst March 2nd

“FRACKING COMMUNITY. Actions and omissions speak louder than words”. Jessica Ernst will speak at this event, to be held in Leitrim Village Community Centre on Saturday 2nd March at 7-10pm. All welcome.
Jessica Ernst is a Canadian scientist who has worked in the oil and gas industry for 30 years. She discovered first-hand the consequences of hydraulic fracturing in her town of Rosebud, Alberta, Canada and has valuable, first-hand information to share with our community. This is a rare opportunity to hear her experiences of the dangers of shale gas development – she is coming to Leitrim and other places around the world to warn communities of what our reality may become. Jessica is currently suing the Canadian authorities for unlawful activities related to hydraulic fracturing and undertaking a tour of locations at risk from the shale gas industry.
Before her lecture, a national anti-fracking meeting will take place at the same venue, from 11 am to 4 pm.
Tea/Coffee and light refreshments will be available on the night as well as music
from local musicians.
There is no entrance charge to this event.
Jessica will also be speaking at the following venues:
  • Ennis: March 4thOld Ground Hotel, Co. Clare. 8pm
  • Belfast: March 6thQueens University, Peter Froggatt Center. 7pm
  • St. Annes: March 7th. United Reformed Church, St. Georges Road, Lancs 7pm
  • BalcombeMarch 8th. Church of England Primary School, London Road, RH17 6HS – 8pm until 10pm. 
  • Dublin: March 10th. Gresham Hotel, O connell Street Dublin, 11-6pm. Hosted by Richard Boyd Barrett TD & Chair of Save our Seafront with speakers from Norway, An Taisce, SIPTU, The Woodlands League and more. Full programme
  • Dublin: March 11th.
    NUI Maynouth, 1pm, (Hall E, NUIM Campus, bring lunch).
    Hosted by Friends of the Earth:
    Smock Alley Theatre 7-9 pm, Exchange Street Lower, Temple Bar, Dublin 2.

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