ANTI-FRACKING CAMPAIGNERS are protesting in a Fermanagh village as exploration company Tamboran attempt to begin drilling to collect rock samples.
The town of Belcoo near the Fermanagh-Cavan border is now at the heart of the Irish fracking debate with activists staging protests over the past few days.
Speaking to protesters at the steel-gated entrance to the site, Donal Ó Cófaigh told protesters that “we are not going to win overnight”:
Everyone has a stake in this including communities across the border. As has been said, what they do behind us is going to enable them to frack all across Ireland. This is really important, its more than just our village that’s up for grabs her, it’s more than just this region.
The site is protected by security guards with guard dogs and the fences are topped with razor wire to prevent entry to the site.
Tamboran itself says that no fracking is scheduled to take place at the site and they plan to drill a scientific borehole to help assess extent of natural gas present in Fermanagh.
The proposed borehole will be about 15cm across and around 750m deep.
They add that there have no plans to use hydraulic fracturing at the site in the future.
Their plans are subject to approval from the Northern Ireland Executive and the company says they hope to begin drilling operations in late August.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is form of gas exploring where gas holes are dug deep in the ground and water, sand and chemicals are shot down at high velocity to break some underground rock and release gas which is collected.
Those against the practice argue that the method is dangerous because it can contaminate underground water tables and lead to unsteady rock foundations.
This is disputed by some gas companies who say the practice is successful elsewhere like in the US.