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Public to have their say on controversial gas fracking process

Story by Tom Kelly

Friday, 26th August, 2011 11:30am

Public to have their say on controversial gas fracking process

The controversial 'fracking' debate is set to dominate the local news agenda in the coming weeks as one of the companies behind the gas extraction plan embarks on a series of meetings with the public and councils, writes Damian McCarney.

A separate public meeting will also be hosted by Lough Allen Conservation Society in advance of the company's event.

Fracking, which has so far received little national attention, will also be the subject of an episode of RTE current affairs programme Prime Time to be screened on Thursday.

It has increasingly grabbed the headlines as two gas extraction companies have been granted exploratory licences for Counties Cavan, Leitrim and Fermanagh. The Australian company which has the licence for west Cavan, Tamboran, intend to commence drilling for gas within 18 months at the earliest.

The technique they intend to use is called hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, and its use in America has been highly controversial, causing moratoriums to be imposed in some States. However Tamboran insist that they will carry out fracking safely.

Tamboran will meet Leitrim County Council on Monday, September 5 and host a 'community information meeting' two days later, on Wednesday, September 7 at 7pm at the Bush Hotel in Carrick-on-Shannon.

Tamboran CEO Richard Moorman told The Anglo-Celt that Cavan County Council has not provided the company with a date for a meeting, despite their requests. The company intend to hold a community information meeting in Cavan regardless on Wednesday, September 14, at 7pm in the Slieve Russell Hotel, Ballyconnell.

Having already met with planners in Fermanagh County Council, the community meeting will take place in Enniskillen's Westville Hotel on September 6 at 7pm.

Meanwhile Lough Allen Conservation Society will host a meeting in the Bush Hotel, Carrick-on-Shannon, on Thursday, September 1, at 8pm in response to the "grave concern across all sections of the community". All public representatives, and a number of groups including IFA, Group Water Schemes representatives, Coillte, The Inland Waterways Association of Ireland, Waterways Ireland and National Coarse Fishing Federation of Ireland have been invited to attend. "Lough Allen Conservation Society believe this is one of if not the most important issue facing this area and urge all members of the public to come along and get informed as well as raise their concerns on this topic," read a statement.

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