Ban Fracking NI were on the Diamond in Enniskillen as “moral support” to locals and to gather signatures for their petition calling on the Northern Ireland Assembly “to place an immediate and permanent ban on the process known as Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking) and all related preparatory and exploratory work in Northern Ireland”.Dawn Bourke noted that “compared to Belfast, people in Fermanagh are more aware of what fracking is”. She added that seven out of 10 of the people she spoke to were opposed to fracking and signed the petition.
“Quite a lot of people are definitely against fracking. However, there are some who aren’t even aware of what it is. Others were apathetic, saying: ‘Awk they are going to do it anyway,’ and that surprised me,” Dawn tells The Impartial Reporter.
Dawn, who first heard about fracking where she lived in America, was concerned when she heard it was planned for her native Northern Ireland.
“I live in Belfast in one of the areas earmarked for fracking, but it doesn’t seem real there yet. Here it feels real and it must be awful for the people of Fermanagh to have that hanging over them.” She feels that Fermanagh folk believe that “fracking is only a Fermanagh issue”. She continues: “Its an issue affecting Northern Ireland and 60 per cent of the UK has been ear-marked for shale gas exploration.” Parents who are threatening to move from Fermanagh if fracking takes place “will have nowhere to go”, Dawn claims.
She reiterates that Fermanagh locals don’t seem to have grasped the reality of how the county will change if fracking goes ahead.
“People still think its an environmental issue, but it’s much more than than. It’s a health issue and it’s a human rights issue. Your whole way of life will change if you live beside a frack site and there’s nothing you can do about it. Whole villages change but you don’t get to vote for that change which is completely undemocratic. A lot of people end up moving and house prices will go down.”
Dawn believes that “any money that will be made from fracking will be lost in other ways e.g. falling house prices”.
She urges more people to make themselves aware of fracking (www.facebook.com/pages/No-Fracking-Northern-Ireland) and calls for a single Energy Minister focused on renewables instead of shale gas.
She concludes: “This is a last ditch attempt by our politicians to get money and in 20 years our kids will be left with a big mess. It’s obscene to leave them to clean up that mess.”