DUP councillors grilled over changing stance on fracking

Keith Elliott DUP


THE DUP’s stance on fracking has been called into question after it was revealed two councillors changed their opinion on the issue in the space of four days.

On July 30 at a shadow council meeting Sinn Fein councillor Brian McCaffrey stated that DUP men Keith Elliott and Paul Robinson supported a motion opposed to shale gas exploration, but at the full council meeting on August 4 abstained along with party colleague Bert Johnston.


“I wanted to clarify what has changed from the shadow council meeting on July 30 through to the August 4 meeting. Maybe we can hear some sort of explanation,” said Mr McCaffrey.

“In answer to the question yes it has changed,” responded Mr Elliott. “We do support looking into potential for fracking in the area. At that stage it was just a test hole, everyone is on about fracking, but there’s no fracking taking place at Belcoo. I support the right to see what’s down there and carry it out.”

Fellow Sinn Fein councillor Barry Doherty said he was “very confused” by the conversation between the two councillors.

“Are you telling me that the DUP are both for and against fracking? You’re telling us you’re both for and against it.”

The chairman Bert Johnston stated he was waiting for an Environmental Impact Study to be released to make further comments, but said: “That’s my stance, I think councillor Elliott explained his position and councillor Robinson is probably the same.”

Mr Elliott added: “My stance on the matter is we support the right to look in the area, they’re not carrying out the process, but drilling a hole to see what’s down there. That is my opinion, no harm there.”

Sheamus Greene also questioned the stance of the two DUP councillors.


“I think the problem is four days previous the councillors voted against boreholes then four days later they abstained.

“I’m just wondering did they get guidance from someone of importance. Did they get slapped down for their views four days previous?”

Losing patience with the debate Mr Johnston asked that they move on with proceedings, but Mr Doherty again admitted his confusion.

“I’m sorry about this, I’m mystified. The last motion we passed, which mentioned about an environmental health study you abstained from that, that’s very different from saying you support that.”

The chairman added: “I’m entitled to abstain. That’s democracy at work. If you want to bulldoze me into a decision you’re doing the wrong thing.”

The matter was discussed at Monday night’s monthly meeting of Fermanagh District Council.

To read more.. Subscribe to current edition

Receive quality journalism wherever you are, on any device. Keep up to date from the comfort of your own home with a digital subscription.
Any time | Any place | Anywhere


The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 28 Belmore Street, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, BT74 6AA