People Before Profit to campaign against Infrastrata exploratory drill near Woodburn Reservoir in Co. Antrim

MLA and TD hit out at ‘cloak and dagger’ tactic by authorities in allowing this drill to take place; implications for South

People Before Profit to move Bill to ban fracking in the Dáil once it resumes

Cllr Gerry Carroll, People Before Profit, Belfast City Council

Gerry Carroll MLA, People Before Profit, West Belfast

People Before Profit MLA, Gerry Carroll and TD, Richard Boyd Barrett condemn moves to initiate fracking in Co Antrim and warned if test drills go ahead it could open the door for fracking North and South. The statement comes after NI Water’s decision to allow Infrastrata to begin drilling for oil just 380 metres away from Woodburn reservoir in Co Antrim. This could lead to UK company, Tramboran, attempting to drill in Fermanagh, which in turn, could lead to fracking in Leitrim and Cavan.

Gerry Carroll said: “We are concerned that streets in West Belfast and across Belfast could be impacted by this drill. The decision by NI water to allow drilling to take place just 380 metres from the reservoir is a scandal, with no thought whatsoever given to the potential impact on the region’s water supply. This could affect tens of thousands of homes across Antrim. A leak near the Carrickfergus reservoir would have a disastrous effect for the people living in the surrounding area.

“NI water is the regulating body tasked with providing clean, hygienic drinking water for people in the North. Yet they have given the go ahead for a major US oil company to begin drilling right next to one of our major reservoirs.”

“The drilling process, itself, uses highly toxic chemicals such as the hazardous Biocide T: an irritant, which is very toxic to aquatic life and dangerous on consumption. It is inconceivable that this chemical is being allowed within 380 metres of such an important regional water source, without a full environmental assessment.

“People Before Profit is calling for an immediate halt to plans for drilling at Woodburn Reservoir. Not only are fossil fuels wrecking the environment, and completely unsustainable, but these plans are a major public health risk. We should be exploring ways to increase our production of renewable energies; not drilling for fossil fuels and potentially contaminating our fresh water supply”.

Richard Boyd Barrett said: “This so called ‘exploratory drill’ in Antrim appears to be a cloak and dagger method of bringing fracking in by the back door. It is disgraceful that this company is being allowed, by the authorities, to attempt this drill. There are implications for the South if this drill is allowed to go ahead. The company Tamboran have said it is expected that the results would also indicate whether there are viable quantities of shale gas in the general region taking in counties Leitrim and Cavan.

“Fracking is an unbelievably dangerous practice and has been banned in New York in the United States because of unacceptable risks to human health, environmental protection, food quality, farm land, tourism and the ecology of an area. The potential for an environmental disaster in the region where it is practiced is massive.
“Towards the end of the 31st Dáil we in People Before Profit, along with Friends of the Earth, put forward the Prohibition of Hydraulic Fracturing Bill 2015. We intend on moving this bill as soon as we can in the Dáil.

“If it is the case that Ireland is committed to reversing climate change then we must ban fracking completely. That is the purpose of our Bill. The best place for fossil fuels like shale gas, oil and coal is in the ground. We have to reduce our consumption of fossil fuels massively in order to prevent climate catastrophe, which is the biggest threat facing humans as a species.”

People Before Profit is involved in the campaign to Stop the Drill at Woodburn Reservoir. Over the coming weeks we will be working alongside residents and environmental groups, to ensure plans for this drill do not go ahead.

For more info see www.stopthedrill.com