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Fracking Comes to Ireland
remember, but suddenly it was paved with two layers of tarmac. Heavy trucks
are rolling in with police protection. Hydro-fracking for natural gas is coming to Ireland. Opposition is mounting, but many of the protesters are not local. Daniel Graham, a
local resident, says that the local people are resigned to the inevitability.
He marveled at the number of police at the drill site, and wondered how much
of his tax money was going to insulate this private enterprise from public
This first drill site in Ireland is happening at an abandoned rock quarry
that is surrounded by fence topped with razor wire, and thus is not visible
from the road. Officials are stressing that this operation is only a test
drilling operation to determine the quality and quantity of the shale gas to
be had, and that there will be no fracking during this stage.
A double page advertisement in the local paper, The Impartial Reporter,
by the drilling company (Tamboran) lists the potential benefits of fracking to
Fermanagh County as: decades of gas reserves, security of supply, cheaper
energy, investment (though it does not specify where the 6bn pounds would be
invested, or to whose benefit), training (“Tamboran could help facilitate
job training at local colleges…”), jobs (“We believe there could be
hundreds of direct and probably thousands of indirect jobs…”), tax
Revenues, (estimated tax revenues of many billion…”), community Funds
(“…Tamboran would expect local Fermanagh communities to receive special
funding, as well as advantages to local roads, schools, and hospitals”).
It also states that “Hydraulic fracturing has been carried out
safely in tens of thousands of boreholes, not just in the USA and
Canada but also in the North Sea.”
Meanwhile opposition is growing, and the police have “a plan in place to deal with
In another incident, the home of the drill site security provider has been petrol-bombed.
Nowhere in the Impartial Reporter print edition that was given to this writer, nor on the web pages surveyed are there accounts of the negative impacts of hydro-fracking that have been seen in the places in which it has been practiced. This part of Ireland seems to be a
country with extensive subsurface water, and one wonders what will be the effect of the subsurface pressurization of the mysterious cocktail of chemicals in this hydrology.
Though it is possibly a realistic approach, the fatalistic Irish acceptance of this technology is a dangerous acquiescence.
Photographer J Henry Fair is best known for his images of environmental issues
which are simultaneously stunning and disturbing, more resembling
abstract expressionist paintings than “environmental” photographs.