Complete fracking and drilling ban call

The prospect of a complete ban on on-shore drilling for oil and gas has been welcomed by Workers Party representative in Lagan Valley, Patrick Crossan, but he has also warned against complacency.

“The possibility of legislation which would put us on a par with the rest of these islands is good news but a much more comprehensive approach is needed if we are to secure our environment and the health of the community”, he said  

“There are too many loopholes and get-out clauses in the current bill”, Patrick warned. “Only a complete and comprehensive ban on fracking and on shore oil and gas drilling will do”

We have already seen the potentially disastrous use of chemical cocktails in drilling operations here and one of the pending applications takes in areas around Lough Neagh which supplies 40% of our drinking water”. Patrick said

Fracking, foxes and fudge

What is it with Sinn Fein, fracking and foxes?

Last week in the Assembly their Agricultural spokesperson Declan McAleer announced that they “do not agree with a ban on hunting” then went on, along with his fellow Sinn Fein MLAs, to vote against, and played a key role in defeating a private members’ bill that would have banned the hunting of wild mammals with dogs.

Unmoved by the public outrage which followed, Sinn Fein confirmed, and attempted to justify, its stance the following day. 

Perhaps they are concerned less with the savagery of wild animals being torn apart by a pack of hounds than they are with protecting the practices of any of their supporters in the border counties who think that terrorising and killing wild animals is ‘sport’.

Sinn Fein MLA, Aine Murphy, last week tabled a motion to ban fracking in Northern Ireland. It was very specific. It called for a ban on fracking into shale rock. Not a total ban, not a ban on other forms of drilling or a ban on petroleum or gas extraction – just shale rock fracking.

This is a serious issue in areas like Fermanagh. However, the exploration company, Tamboran Resources, that wanted to frack thousands of acres there reversed its decision last year under enormous public pressure and has announced that it will use conventional drilling methods instead. Sinn Fein has adopted a very strange position for a party that claims to protect the environment.

Whether its foxes or fracking Sinn Fein will always fudge its position. One thing remains absolutely clear. Sinn Fein is concerned only with itself alone. The environment and wild animals are clearly expendable.

The Workers Party supports an immediate end to hunting with dogs and the prohibition of cruel “sports” and it remains resolutely opposed to fracking.