Speaking to protesters at the steel-gated entrance to the site, Donal Ó Cófaigh told protesters that “we are not going to win overnight”:
Everyone has a stake in this including communities across the border. As has been said, what they do behind us is going to enable them to frack all across Ireland. This is really important, its more than just our village that’s up for grabs her, it’s more than just this region.
Today with No No Fracking Northern Ireland we carried out a solidarity action at Acheson & Glover. The Company is providing the quarry for Tamboran in Belcoo. Quite soon after our arrival a nice friendly policeman was called and he facilitated our right to peaceful protest. Afterwards we had a chat with the Acheson & Glover representative on site. He wasn’t very happy with us and told us that we weren’t welcome. We told him that he had a right to ask us to leave unfortunately the people of Belcoo can’t tell Tamboran to leave as his company is facilitating their drill.
As we talked he watered his plants and we discussed water and highlighted to him that Acheson & Glover were facilitating the potential contamination of water.
Acheson & Glover sells building supplies to add value to homes whilst supplying a site to Tamboran. Fracking makes homes unsellable and uninsurable!
Acheson & Glover uses the marketing slogan ‘Create your perfect outside room’. The landscape of Fermanagh is the most beautiful ‘outside room’!
To Acheson & Glover we say #NoFrackingWay!!
— with Niall Bakewell, Fiona Joyce, Colette Stewart, James Hunter, Dawn Patterson, Declan Allison, James Orr and Niall Bakewell.
Policing plan is in place if needed
A police spokeswoman states: “As is normal procedure, the PSNI have plans in place to deal with any significant event.”
In drawing up its policing plan for the foreseeable future, the PSNI has taken into consideration the policing of drill and frack sites in the UK. This includes consideration of policing in Balcombe in West Sussex, where hundreds of activists blockaded the Balcombe oil drilling site owned by the fracking company Cuadrilla, as well as its Lichfield headquarters and the offices of its PR firm in London in August 2013. Those protests saw more than 1,000 protesters at its height, with 126 arrests made, including the UK’s only Green Party MP Caroline Lucas (who was acquitted).
Asked to outline its prosecution policy and its responsibility for securing Tamboran’s Belcoo drill site and any potential future fracking sites, the spokeswoman stated: “The role of the police is to facilitate lawful activity by Tamboran and their agents, facilitate peaceful protest and minimise the potential for disorder. As part of our planning process Police have looked at similar operations in the UK.”
She continued: “The PSNI is conscious of a strong sense of feeling emanating from parts of the community in relation to the proposed test drill. We’re also aware that any protest may have an impact on the local community.
“Accordingly, we will work with all those involved or affected to minimise any impact. The PSNI have spoken to interested parties and are listening to their concerns.”
On Monday evening’s protest, she comments: “Local officers were on the ground during Monday night’s protest. There were around 300 campaigners. Officers spoke to those present. There were no arrests on Monday night.”
Meanwhile, social media reports that a protest has been organised from 1-3pm on Friday at Acheson and Glover’s Newtownards showroom, “called in opposition to their quarry allowing fracking test drills in Belcoo”.