Northern Ireland Assembly members have called for a freeze on gas exploration in Fermanagh to avoid the consequences of fracking.A Green Party and Alliance Party motion against the potential use of hydraulic fracturing, which pumps water into the ground to release shale gas, was passed with the support of Sinn Fein and the SDLP.

But predictably the DUP rolled in behind its Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster. Mrs Foster said it was correct to pursue the possibility of identifying a source of locally obtainable fuel, but Green MLA Steven Agnew said there was no guarantee Northern Ireland would benefit from such a find, which he said he opposed anyway, urging emphasis on alternatives to fossil fuels.

Stephen Agnew presented the Assembly with a petition of more than 2,800 signatures ahead of the debate on fracking. He said groups of worried residents had travelled from as far as Fermanagh and Sligo, with areas of both the north and south of Ireland affected by potential fracking operations.

Mr Agnew said fears over environmental damage and health concerns had seen the process halted in parts of the US, Germany, South Africa and France.

Assembly members cited tremors in an area of the north of England where fracking was being employed.

He said: “The people of Northern Ireland need a full review of this decision and a ban on this process. This process could severely impact our tourism industry, agriculture, our water quality, environment and our health.”

Where does this leave Carwyn Jones’ Labour administration in Cardiff Bay? Looking like King Canute in the face of the tide of concern and opposition to fracking. He needs to grasp the nettle and take an historic opportunity for the Welsh Government to make a telling impact on UK policy for a change, and unite with his Conservative rival Andrew RT Davies in calling for a moratorium on fracking related activity in Wales.


  1. ttmallard

    Consider using algae to purify wastewater effluent, all of Ireland has wastewater and if cleaned using algae is worth about 7.5L/2-gallons of biodiesel a day per person on the system.

    Using ponds doesn’t work too well so consider small grow-harvest units that can have everything piped in with much more lighted surface than a pond, insulated, aerated, and they stack to reduce the land area taken up by the process.

    Big cities produce 40-million litres a day of wastewater worth 11-million litres a day of biodiesel using algae instead of flocking chemicals. The water when the grow-rate drops off at the end, allowing teriary treatment to be fully recycled, saving 40-million litres in freshwater demand per day, Then you get the biodiesel, the pressed cakes good for soils adding organics and a few minerals, but this in tons per day so a plus for local agriculture.

    And, farm wastewater can also be treated this way adding another source of high-quality fuel in enough volume to run all the farm equipment.

    You don’t need fracking but do need to consider growing algae from wastewater to recycle the freshwater and gain a fuel to burn … most homes will produce 20-25L a day by miniaturizing this system to that scale.


  2. Dawn Bourke

    Its not over yet this vote can and is likely to be overturned by an executive comittee. Lots and lots more letters needed. We are working flat out to continue to raise awareness. The petition is still running as we are hoping that a big rush on the petition will help illustrate public awareness. We will also be highlighting the news from the EPA and from Texas in an attempt to refute those still declaring that it will be ok because it will do be different here.



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