Leitrim County Coucillors vote to ban fracking

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Leitrim County Councillorshttp://www.thejournal.ie/leitrim-county-councillor-1263205-Jan2014/

Leitrim Draft County Development Plan
Those who voted against (1): Cllr Gerry Reynolds (Fine Gael)

Those who abstained (4): Cllr Gordon Hughes (Fine Gael), Cllr John McCartin (Fine Gael), Cllr Thomas Mulligan (Fine Gael), Cllr Enda McGloin (Fine Gael)

Those who voted for (17):

 Cllr Gerry Dolan (Independent), Cllr Seán McSharry (Independent), Cllr Martin Kenny (Sinn Féin)  Cllr Francie Gilmartin (Fianna Fáil), Cllr Mary Bohan (Fianna Fáil), Cllr John Ward (Fine Gael), Cllr Seán McDermott (Fine Gael), Cllr Gerry Kilrane (Fianna Fáil), Cllr Enda Stenson (Independent), Cllr Seán McGowan (Fianna Fáil), Cllr Tony Ferguson (Fianna Fáil), Cllr Sinéad Guckian (Fianna Fáil), Cllr Paddy O’Rourke (Fianna Fáil), Cllr Caillian Ellis (Fianna Fáil), Cllr Siobhán McGloin (Fine Gael), Cllr Frank Dolan (Fine Gael), Cllr John McTernan (Fine Gael)

This isn’t officially confirmed until the minutes come back.
LEITRIM COUNTY COUNCILLORS yesterday voted to ban fracking in the county, despite a warning from the county manager that they could be held financially responsible for future costs incurred as a result.

This means a section will now be inserted into the county’s development plan with a commitment to refuse permission to plans which involve the use of the controversial drilling method. The motion passed with 17 votes in favour while Fine Gael councillor Gerry Reynolds voted against it and four of his party colleagues abstained.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie today Fine Gael councillor John McTernan, who voted in favour of the motion, said it was “basically a waste of time”.

“What we were putting in meant basically nothing – it was more of a protest than anything,” he said.

Any applications for planning will still have to go through the same processes so this does not mean that there is actually a ban on fracking in Leitrim, it merely means that councillors’ opposition to it has been registered in the development plan.

“There are definitely questions that have to be answered about it,” McTernan commented.

There’s a horror in Leitrim of this, and a fear – people are very afraid of it.

Financially responsible

There was controversy surrounding comments made by the council manager Martin Dolan about councillors who voted in favour of the motion being liablefor costs incurred by the council as a result of this. However a spokesperson for the council told TheJournal.ie that he was merely reading out a section of the Local Government Act, advising them that the vote would be contrary to legal advice- something he is obliged to do as county manager.

Despite the lack of power of the motion, anti-fracking activists hailed last night’s vote as “a major victory”.

Roughly 100 people assembled outside the council chamber in Carrick-on-Shannon to express their opposition to fracking yesterday as coucillors met to discuss it.

“We’re delighted that the council have sided with the people and sent such an emphatic message to the government and to the oil and gas industry,” said Mairead Higgins, a member of Love Leitrim, who attended the gathering.

“Their action today means there is no democratic mandate for fracking – and gives the government a perfect opportunity take the people’s will into account and ban fracking not just in Leitrim but in Ireland as well.”

Read: Pros and cons of fracking in Ireland to be examined by two-year research study>

Read: French court upholds ban on fracking>

Read also

art. 28 of the constitution

Only the courts can decide whether something is legal, (not keyboard lawyers.)  Article 28 A of the Constitution of Ireland was inserted into the Constitution in 1999, six years after the Glencar Exploration v Mayo County Council (1993 Judgement. )


August 2012

Enacted by the People 1st July, 1937
In operation as from 29th December, 1937



1 The State recognises the role of local government in providing a forum for the democratic representation of local communities, in exercising and performing at local level powers and functions conferred by law and in promoting by its initiatives the interests of such communities.

2 There shall be such directly elected local authorities as may be determined by law and their powers and functions shall, subject to the provisions of this Constitution, be so determined and shall be exercised and performed in accordance with law.

3 Elections for members of such local authorities shall be held in accordance with law not later than the end of the fifth year after the year in which they were last held.

4 Every citizen who has the right to vote at an election for members of Dáil Éireann and such other persons as may be determined by law shall have the right to vote at an election for members of such of the local authorities referred to in section 2 of this Article as shall be determined by law.

5 Casual vacancies in the membership of local authorities referred to in section 2 of this Article shall be filled in accordance with law.