…and counting

The “Sign the Pledge” campaign, coordinated by Fracking Free Network, is a big success.  154 candidates in this year’s General Election have so far personally signed the pledge against fracking!  From all parties and from all constituencies, candidates have committed to support legislation that will ban fracking in Ireland. There is no doubt that the issue of fracking is now a national rather than a local issue.  Candidates from Cork and Kerry, from Donegal and Dublin, from Galway and Wexford have indicated that they will work to ensure that fracking will never be introduced to Ireland.

However, the response of the major parties has been disappointing.  Two out of the three Fine Gael candidates from Sligo-Leitrim, Tony McLoughlin and John Perry, signed the pledge.  (Gerry Reynolds, the 3rd FG candidate, didn’t sign.) However, no other FG candidates nationally have signed.  Only 14 Fianna Fáil candidates have signed the pledge despite supporting a ban on fracking in their Energy Paper last year.  And only 16 candidates from Sinn Féin have signed so far despite their public opposition to fracking.

“It was the smaller parties and independents who gave us this amazing result”, said Jamie Murphy, from Fracking Free Network.  “The Green Party and Anti Austerity/People Before Profit parties gave wholehearted support to the pledge, as did many Independents.  It is very worrying that the major parties, who are likely to form the next government, still will not commit to supporting legislation to ban fracking.”

The “Sign the Pledge” campaign continues until Thursday evening (votefrackfree.org).  Even at this stage, candidates are being contacted and urged to sign the pledge.  “It’s very clear that our work is not over”, Jamie concluded. “The campaign against fracking must continue, after the election it will focus on getting legislation to ban fracking passed by our future government.”



The 12 candidates answer questions from the floor

Candidates from all parties sign the pledge

Twelve candidates attended a Hustings event in Manorhamilton on Saturday 13th organised by Love Leitrim.  All twelve from different parties and independents signed the pledge that they would support legislation to ban fracking in Ireland and confirmed that commitment at the meeting.  This support included Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin, Fine Gael, Labour, Greens, People Before Profit and Independents.

Meeting disrupted before questions could be asked about NI drilling

However, the greatest threat to Ireland from fracking at present, the proposal to commence drilling in North Belfast this week, was not even mentioned or discussed.  Before this subject could be introduced, the meeting was completely disrupted by a small group who refused to allow the discussion to continue.  The Chairman, Johnny Gogan, had to close the meeting prematurely and it ended in disarray.

“I am very upset that a small number of protesters seem to consider public meetings to be an opportunity for anarchic disturbances for their own sake”, said Dr Aedín McLoughlin Director of GEAI.  “We were there as members of the campaign against fracking, and it was our intention to bring up the Belfast threat, which is really serious and is not getting the attention it deserves.  People don’t realise the danger – Infrastrata, an oil/gas company, has issued leaflets to all houses nearby that they intend to come on site in Woodburn Forest this week and start drilling an exploratory well over a mile deep, exactly as Tamboran proposed in Belcoo.  The site is 400 yards from a water reservoir serving 2,000 houses in Carrick-on-Fergus and North Belfast.

Yet there is little publicity around this.  One candidate I spoke to after the meeting was not even aware of this proposal.  Sinn Féin, who are an all-island party, have not issued any public statement in Leitrim on the situation and in the North, have not issued any statement of concern at the Stormont Assembly.  At our meeting, they kept referring to their Party policy as opposing fracking.  Is this policy only South of the border?

Infrastrata (the oil/gas company) say that this well will not be fracked.  This is quite possible – it is an exploratory well.  However, if they find oil or gas, there is absolutely no guarantee that fracking will not commence – and hundreds of wells could be fracked.  In addition, this drilling is due to start without a Waste Treatment Plan in place.  Why is the Northern Ireland government not stepping in, as it did with Tamboran?  Why are the main political parties not preventing the drill?  All these questions should have been asked at the Hustings but unfortunately, were prevented from so doing.”


Election Hustings, Saturday 13, BeePark, Manorhamilton

 Pubic Meeting in Manorhamilton with general election candidates Feb 13th

Are you worried about the future of your area? Do you think the politicians hear your voice? Do you know what policies the current general election candidates have in regard to renewable energy, community based energy initiatives and their stance on implementing a ban on fracking?

Well, Love Leitrim, the North Leitrim based community group has arranged a pre- election event where all candidates in the up coming election will have an opportunity to share their views on these and related issues and the electorate has a chance to question them on those issues.

All Candidates are invited to debate fracking and future energy policy for the region.

This public meeting chaired by Johnny Gogan, chair of Love Leitrim will take place in The Bee Park Centre, Manorhamilton on Sat Feb 13th at 8pm. Candidates will each have a few minutes to speak, followed by a question and answer session from the floor. Love Leitrim emphasizes the importance of attending this event and making an informed decision on Election Day re the sustainable future of the Sligo-Leitrim constituency which includes parts of South Donegal and West Cavan.

Here is the link to the most recent information on the EPA study: https://goodenergiesalliance.com/press-releases/

For further information: Johnny Gogan, chair Love Leitrim 086 3173075.



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