Public meeting on ‘fracking’ in North Antrim

A FREE screening of the award-winning documentary film ‘GASLAND’, followed by a public meeting, will be held in Ballycastle at 7pm on Tuesday February 7 in the Ferry Terminal to discuss the controversial issue of ‘fracking’.

Fracking (hydraulic fracturing) is a process that could be used all across the North Coast region from Ballycastle to Limavady, inland as far as Ballymoney and Garvagh.

It is used to tap unconventional shale gas deposits locked deep underground. It involves drilling down vertically for about a mile into the earth and then turning and drilling horizontally for about a mile.

Explosives, followed by millions of litres of water, sand, and chemicals (some carcinogenic), fracture the rock in all directions along the horizontal borehole. This breaks open the rock and allows the gas to escape up the vertical borehole to be collected. But what happens to all the water, sand and chemicals that are forced down the well?

The prospect of fracking being carried out in North Antrim has galvanised opponents of the process hence the public meeting.

Guest speakers on the night will include Steven Agnew MLA, Leader of the Green Party, who brought a motion to the Northern Ireland Assembly proposing a moratorium on fracking; Moyle Councillor Donal Cunningham (SLDP) who last year successfully brought a motion to Moyle Council to oppose fracking; Niall Bakewell, spokesperson for Friends of the Earth Northern Ireland; and Jim Donaghy, from North Coast anti-fracking group ‘No To Fracking’.

A cross-party discussion-panel of local elected representatives will include MLA Daithi McKay (Sinn Fein), Chair of Moyle District Council Padraig McShane (Ind), Vice-Chair Sandra Hunter (UUP), Councillor Cara McShane (Sinn Fein) and others.

All North Antrim MLAs have been invited to participate as have the Directors of Canadian-owned Rathlin Energy Ltd, who intend to undertake fracking locally if the conditions prove to be suitable.

There will be an open question and answer session and the public have been urged to come along. The Gasland film is rated PG. For more information on the event contact notofracking@gmail.com.