"The Government have clearly sent the message to Shell, ‘you can do whatever you want’. Fortunately due to protest, the refinery remains unconnected to the gas field. If, as Shell planned, gas had been flowing by now, we would potentially all be dealing with a gas leak and explosion.”
No Fracking Ireland regret to learn that Manorhamilton Enterprise Forum have decided to take €20,000 from Tamboran Resources, the Australian/Canadian fracking company who wish to drill thousands of wells to extract shale gas in the north west region.
We understand this money is being used by the business forum to fund plans for a hotel in Manorhamilton town. Manorhamilton Enterprise Forum claim to be working at promoting tourism, fracking runs counter to this worthy objective. Only weeks prior to this announcement by the Manorhamilton business group, visiting German geoscientist and politician Helmut Fehr appealed to locals not to sell out to this highly controversial and damaging industry stating, “Don’t take the company’s money it is like selling your soul.”
No Fracking Ireland understand that this is a common tactic used by gas companies to get a 'foot in the door' into local communities, receive good public relations and eventually divide communities during hard times when people feel they have no choice but to accept anything on offer, regardless of the consequences. This has been the case in several states in the U.S. and Australia where fracking companies continue to railroad through communities using the ‘divide and conquer’ tactic of offering money to various local groups and businesses as a “sweetner”.
Of course, in accepting this money the perception now is that Manorhamilton Enterprise Forum is endorsing Tamborans’ plans and are clearly in a ‘you scratch our back and we’ll scratch your back’ deal. How will Tamboran be repaid for their generous offering? By simply getting locals to accept their money, in return all Tamboran ask for is your silence on the fracking issue.
With news of Manorhamilton Enterprise Forum accepting this large sum of money from a powerful industry banging on our door , we are now left under no illusion as to how this industry intend to operate and gain public acceptance. Of course, if fracking was safe, sound and beneficial to communities throughout the north west, Tamboran would have no need to meet small groups behind closed doors, offering them large, lump sums of money.
We are also fully aware that our government continues to ignore the reasons as to why fracking is banned in several countries and why the industry is being continuously criticised by several academic institutions and communities internationally, with experts having clearly stated the risks are too high. But, regardless of this, the Irish government for whatever reason have not acted on that mountain of research and advice. Apparently our EPA (who have no experience of fracking), in conjunction with Aberdeen University (who are heavily funded by the oil and gas industry through Halliburton) are soon going to tell us all we need to know about fracking. So far all indications are that the government line will be, ‘there are a few cowboys in the industry, that have caused a few problems, but it will be different here with first class regulation” etc.etc.. Unfortunately Ireland is renowned internationally today for it’s lack of regulation in various sectors of our society, but regardless of this the problems that surround fracking are not about regulation but the very nature of numerous aspects of the actual industry itself. No amount of regulation can guarantee fracking to be safe. The fact is, where there is fracking there is irreversible land, air and water pollution, resulting in longlasting environmental degradation and serious human health issues. Also if allowed to proceed this industry will effectively be taking over rural Ireland north and south, industrialising a region, covering hundreds of thousands of acres in 12 counties which will be to the detriment of existing sustainable industries.
The fact that this government is ignoring all calls to stop fracking from experts with no vested interest in the industry clearly indicates the governments plan to eventually, when the time suits them, give Tamboran and the other shale gas companies the green light. By investing in local businesses Tamboran Resources obviously feel confident that they will be proceeding with their plans. The deal between the government and companies like Tamboran looks to be already signed and sealed. After one year of campaigning against fracking in Ireland, today we watch the government sitting tight while Tamboran Resources must do whatever they can to divert from the real issues and that amounts to throwing their money at those who will quietly accept it. Manorhamilton Enterprise Forum were contacted today by people involved in No Fracking Ireland and local radio stations but refused to comment on the issue. No Fracking Ireland have also learned that not all members of Manorhamilton Enterprise Forum were informed or consulted about the decision to accept this money from Tamboran Resources.
No Fracking Ireland is a peaceful grassroots campaign, made up of people from all walks of life, farmers, teachers, artists, doctors, students, environmentalists, horticulturalists, business people and like everywhere in Ireland today, people who are seeking work. We are pro development, pro agriculture, tourism and business. We would naturally welcome any tourism development in north Leitrim but not while obviously endorsing a company that has the potential to damage our country beyond repair. We look forward to a time in the near future when the north west receives investment and enjoys growth through sustainable industries that create employment and security for all in our region while protecting our indigenous industries, our pristine landscape, clean environment and the health of our children. The fact that a small group of business people in north Leitrim have accepted such a large sum of cash from an industry which has the potential to singlehandedly destroy tourism in this region is beyond comprehension and an extremely disappointing reflection on this small group of people. The irony and cynicism of this deal will not go unnoticed in communities throughout this region. No Fracking Ireland along with all the other active anti-fracking groups will continue to peacefully campaign on this issue until we secure a ban on fracking in Ireland, north and south of the border.
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For further info on anti-fracking movement in Ireland etc - see http://frackingfreeireland.org/
To get involved and sign our petition go to - http://nofrackingireland.wordpress.com/