AROUND 300 protesters descended on the site that fracking company Tamboran have announced they will drill a scientific bore hole to test for quantities of gas in Fermanagh in the coming weeks.
The predominantly peaceful protest on Monday night, marred only slightly when a minority of protesters attempted to breach the security fence, included a number of speakers welcomed by the large crowd.
The protest featured a cross-section of people, many from the Belcoo area, and many from across the county.
Speaking to the Fermanagh Herald at the protest site, Frank Duffy, of Ban Fracking Fermanagh, Enniskillen described what was happening as a ‘disgrace’.
“You can see there’s a cross base of the community here, old and young. We don’t want racking here – we don’t want the environment or our health put at risk.”
Belcoo man Sean Sweeney was in attendance with his children aged four and six.
“There’s a lot of doubt there. My fears – the health of my children for a start. Questions have been raised about the effect it has on water, the effect it has on agriculture – these questions haven’t been answered. I don’t want my kids growing up in an environment where there’s a risk that their health maybe be affected.”
Another Belcoo resident, Isabelle Leonard, said that she felt the fact that Tamboran have made moves to begin the drilling has stirred up further opposition.
“The reaction is people are outraged that this would happen without any consultation with the local people,” she said.
“I think a lot of people are against fracking. Maybe a lot of people haven’t been showing it so far because they thought it was maybe a threat that would happen in the future. But when people see things moving they are really showing their disapproval.”
From Arney, Barry Keenan, commented: “We just simply don’t know enough about fracking and its implications in the long term environmental and health aspects to allow it to just start ‘carte blanche’ without far more in depth consultation process and review.
“I think there’s a huge amount of misinformation and lack of information with regards to the general public.
“You just have to look at the natural beauty here and the impact frack pads would have on it.”
While Adrian McAloon, from Boho, added: “There’s no benefit whatsover for anyone around here.
“From my research and what I’ve seen, companies come in and then leave a mess behind them of sludge and platforms that nobody clean up afterwards.”
17-year-old Jade Donnelly from Enniskillen was at the protest with her auntie, Carmel.
Jade said: “When we were driving up here, all the landscape is going to be ruined by the likes of this. It already looks disgusting.
“I honestly didn’t think there was going to be this many people here but I’m happy that there is.”
Carmel added: “People are brainwashed that there’s going to be jobs – they’ll leave and they’ll ruin the land or the young people that are standing over there. It’s not our generation, it’s those children that we have to think about.”
Bernadette Layden, also from Enniskillen, said: “We live in a beautiful county in a beautiful country – you only have to look at the view here. To think that it’s just going to be ripped apart, destroyed.
“It’s going to have an effect on the entire county. People think it’s just little pockets here and there, Belcoo, Derrygonnelly and places – it’s the whole county.”
For a video of the protest see here:
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