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!


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.


What a day!!






Over 100 campaigners gathered yesterday outside Stormont to show solidarity with the Stop the Drill campaign and to protest against the introduction of the petroleum extractive industry in Northern Ireland.  From all over Ireland people came – Leitrim, Fermanagh, Sligo, Antrim, Down, Armagh, Roscommon and Clare, joined by members of political parties and Trade Unions.

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Rally at Stormont

“This was truly an all-Ireland gathering to show the growing strength of the anti-fracking campaign,” said Aedín McLoughlin, Spokesperson for GEAI.  “We stood together with our fellow campaigners from North and South and pledged our continuing support for all efforts to stop this destructive industry from gaining a foothold in Ireland.  We are well aware that this drill by Infrastrata in north Belfast is only an exploratory drill but what happens if they hit oil or gas?  Then the scenario changes to the extraction phase with plans for hundreds of well, using thousands of vehicles per well, high risks of environment and human health damage, water pollution, and communities as well as the earth shattered.”

“The only way to stop this industry in its tracks is to impose NOW a ban on all on-shore exploration and extraction of hydrocarbons (oil and gas) from rock.  Nothing less will be enough.  We have already heard the weasel words from the industry, “We are not using fracking”.  Maybe not while drilling an exploratory well.  But for extraction of oil or gas on a commercial scale from rock, there is no other way than by shattering the rock using water and chemicals, with multiple wells over large areas of land.  Fracked land is fracked land and the impacts on communities is the same, regardless of the details of extraction.”

“We call for the governments of Ireland and Northern Ireland to pass legislation now, as a matter of urgency, to impose a ban on all on-shore exploration and extraction of hydrocarbons (oil and gas) from rock,” Aedín concluded.

Rally outside Stormont on Monday

Woodburn 220516Debate on Permitted Development

On Monday 6th at Stormont there will be a Northern Assembly debate on the drilling in Woodburn Forest.

Rally in front of Parliament Buildings 5.45 pm for show of solidarity with the Stop the Drill campaign and photo opportunity. The debate itself is scheduled to start between 6 and 8pm.  The debate can be viewed from the public gallery.

This is an opportunity for the anti-fracking campaign to show the strength of its opposition to the drilling in Carrickfergus and any future plans for extraction of oil or gas throughout the licence area. Legislation must be put in place to stop this industry. We need as many people as possible to support this campaign. Come and join our peaceful rally!


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