Fracking and flooding + letter to the Irish Times

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Six County Clare families stranded
Did floods cause a fracking disaster in colorado

Six families have been left cut off by the sea on the Loophead Peninsula in Co Clare as storms lash the west Coast.The families have been completely cut of since last Thursday night
and while their homes are elevated and unaffected by flooding, they have no way of getting into the nearby village of Carrigaholt for food, fuel or other necessities. A regional road leading to the 6 homes and the college has been competed engulfed by the sea. A track road that had been the only access until last Friday has also been completed submerged.Carrigaholt postmaster Patrick Gavin lives in Kilredaun which has been completely cut off from the mainland by the sea. Mr Gavin managed to open the post office for half the day on Friday after a local farmer took him through the floods on his tractor. That lane has since been covered by the sea and there are fears that some of it has been washed away.

“Six homes and the Irish college are now cut off. I’ve been living in the area since 1997 and I’ve never seen anything like this before. Before I even came here, locals had been promised that minor issues with the retaining wall would be sorted. But what would have been a small job then, will be a massive undertaking but it has to be sorted,” Mr Gavin said.

“People have been ringing up asking if they can bring us anything but they can’t get in to us. We have no issue with Clare County Council and they’ve been very good to us but central Government must sort this out once and for all,” he added.

In Lahinch, meanwhile, further sections of the promenade wall disintegrated sending parts of it across a flooded carpark. The same prom and carpark were left devastated following Friday’s storms.

Work crews had spent the weekend gathering rubble from Friday’s battering by the elements into several large piles along the carpark. Today however further debris, including large chunks of concrete walls, was strewn over a wide area.

Irish Hotel’s Federation President and Lahinch hotelier Michael Vaughan said: “If the sea wall that was erected back in the 80s wasn’t built the Seaworld, the golf course and the sea front businesses would be destroyed.

“You can never beat the brute force of nature but we have do out best. We are going to have storms like this so we just have to get on with it. Lahinch will come back bigger and better but we do need to invest in coastal defences in vulnerable areas to minimise damage in the future,” Mr Vaughan added.

Letter to the Irish Times (not published)
Dear Sir,

In your article of Monday, 6 January 2014, “Six Co Clare families
stranded as sea engulfs road”, you report that six households on the
Loophead peninsula have been stranded since Thursday, 2 January, by
flood waters that have engulfed the road to the nearest village of

The Loophead peninsula (recipient of the Irish Times best tourism
destination in 2013) is one of the areas where hydraulic fracturing for
shale gas extraction will occur if the government allows it.

If hydraulic fracturing were underway now on the Loophead peninsula, the
gas wells would be underwater, as would be the vast reservoirs of highly
toxic wastewater that are generally constructed (in the form of open
pits dug into the ground) at each well pad site. This toxic wastewater
is produced in enormous quantities and contains cancer-causing and
endocrine-disrupting chemicals, as well as the naturally occurring
radioactive materials (NORMs) that come out of the ground with the
flowback water.

Even under ideal meteorological circumstances, numerous studies from the
USA and elsewhere have shown that hydraulic fracturing pollutes surface
and ground water, as well as the air, and poses serious health risks for
people and animals. To allow this highly polluting practice in an area
subject to the sort of severe storms and flooding that we are seeing at
present would be madness.

Ireland should be proud of its current “Guaranteed Fracking Free” status
and should protect it by enacting a permanent ban on hydraulic
fracturing without further delay.


Article published in Inshore Ireland –