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Fracking in the Lough Allen & Clare Basins

category national | environment | opinion/analysis author Thursday June 16, 2011 17:19author by éirígí Sligeach - éirígíauthor email eirigisligeach at gmail dot com Report this post to the editors

'Fracking' is a term that not everyone may be aware of. It is used to describe a method of shale gas extraction known as Hydraulic Fracturing. Unfortunately it is a term we are very likely to hear a lot more about in the coming months and years.

onshore_licensing_2010_a3_nwcarb.png

'Fracking' in the Lough Allen & Clare Basins
'Fracking' is a term that not everyone may be aware of. It is used to describe a method of shale gas extraction known as Hydraulic Fracturing. Unfortunately it is a term we are very likely to hear a lot more about in the coming months and years.

The dangers that this procedure poses to the environment, to water quality and to human safety is well documented worldwide. France has recently banned the use of fracking as have a number of regions in the United States. In Lancashire in England, fracking has been halted in recent weeks following a series of earthquakes that occurred and are believed to be linked to the recent exploration activity using this method in that region.

In the dying days of the Fianna Fáil led administration back in February of this year, one of their final acts was to award licences to a number of companies to explore for commercial gas in the Northwest Carboniferous Basin (more commonly known as the Lough Allen basin) and the Clare basin. The Lough Allen Basin is a huge area that covers parts of counties Cavan, Donegal, Fermanagh, Leitrim, Mayo, Monaghan, Roscommon, Sligo and Tyrone. It covers an area of 8000 square kilometres in total. The Clare basin encompasses parts of Counties Clare, Cork, Kerry and Limerick.

Awarding the licences the then Minister of Natural Resources Conor Lenihan awarded licences to two companies to begin exploration in the Lough Allen basin – Australian company Tamboran Resources and the Irish Lough Allen Natural Gas Company. Enegi Oil Plc was awarded the licence to begin exploration in the Clare Basin.

Last April when Lenihan first invited applications for licences to explore for natural gas in these areas, éirígí warned of the potential dangers that lay in store if this exploration and drilling was allowed proceed without meaningful consultation and the consent of communities effected.

Responding to Lenihan at the time (click here to read article) éirígí Sligeach activist Gerry Casey said that “such exploration and extraction has the potential for grave environmental damage and danger to human health and safety. We have seen in north Mayo the conflict that can arise when such developments, with the potential risks involved, are imposed on local communities. Once again in these instances, there has been no proper in-depth consultation with local communities who may be effected by this prospecting and possible extraction of gas.”

He added: “If our natural resources are to be exploited, then it needs to be done in consultation with local communities, in a manner that protects the environment and protects peoples health and safety. To date, the record of the political establishment and of the exploration companies, as exemplified in the ongoing dispute over Shell's planned pipeline in north Mayo, on environmental and safety issues does not breed confidence.”

Claims by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources who now say that fracking would not be allowed in the Lough Allen basin without a public consultation phase and an environmental impact assessment should be treated with contempt.

Indeed, both companies involved in the Lough Allen basin exploration have already confirmed that fracking is their intended method to extract gas from this region. So much for consultation!

One need only look at the example of Shell's pipeline in north Mayo to see how the department deliberately ignored the dangers to human safety and the environment, ignored deliberate breaches of the law and environmental regulations by Shell and never held any meaningful consultation with the local community.

Instead, they ignored their legitimate concerns, tried to demonise and criminalise them and then sent the Gardai in to intimidate and beat them into submission when they realised they could not be duped or bought off.

The whole Corrib gas saga is proof of how environmental regulation in this state does not work and cannot be relied upon to protect citizens from large oil and gas companies whose only concern is profit.

As in the Corrib case, any gas extracted in the Lough Allen or Clare basins will be of no benefit to the public, the rightful owners of this natural gas. Once again the shareholders of private companies will benefit from this at our expense.

As the start of exploration in the region is imminent éirígí activist Gerry Casey said that the whole process needs to be stopped immediately.

He said: “There has been no consultation with the local communities effected and no consent given by them to this project. This whole process needs to be stopped immediately and the use of fracking banned before any damage can be done.”

“Genuine and in depth consultation must be held with the people in these regions. If the gas can be extracted safely without any threat to the environment and public health, then and only then, it should be extracted to benefit the people of the region and the island as a whole, not to boost profits for private companies.”

Casey added: “All our natural resources must be nationalised and extracted safely where possible. The vast wealth that could be generated would go a long way towards creating well resourced and efficient public services in areas such as Health and Education. It would provide long term funding to create sustainable long term employment and help to eradicate the scourge of fuel poverty and poverty in general.”

“If Fine Gael and Labour think that people will roll over and just accept the current situation they are sadly mistaken. If they insist on continuing this process they will meet fierce resistance, just as Shell and the government have faced for the past ten years in north Mayo.”

In recent weeks Cinema North West have been holding public showings of the award winning US documentary 'Gasland' which exposed the dangers of the fracking process throughout the US. Their next screening takes place next Thursday night (June 23) at 8PM in their mobile cinema beside the Coach House Hotel in Ballymote, Co Sligo. (Click here for more details)

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author by CJpublication date Thu Jun 16, 2011 19:20Report this post to the editors

They must not be allowed get away with this.

author by war29 - N/Apublication date Mon Jun 27, 2011 14:57Report this post to the editors

As a resident of Arigna. An Area that was drilled in the 1980's for gas exploration. This type of gas extraction fracking must not go ahead.

author by keeperpublication date Tue Jun 28, 2011 08:41Report this post to the editors

will be the biggest environmental disaster to ever hit eire for sure will affect most of the country

author by shell shockedpublication date Tue Aug 16, 2011 15:18author email nofrackingireland at gmail dot comReport this post to the editors

the american award winning documentary Gasland is been shown  tonite at 11 you can find it on current tv which is channel 183 through sky digital , this is a must see for those who want to know just how dangerous this technique of extracting gas is, additional information available through No Fracking Ireland and What The Frack ,through facebook pages

author by S. H. O'Toolepublication date Wed Aug 24, 2011 14:50Report this post to the editors

If an oil company is capable and willing to take out a bond assuring restoration of the environment in the event of a disaster, there is no reason why this chunk of change can't be taken out of the ground.

author by Tpublication date Wed Aug 24, 2011 22:05Report this post to the editors

Yesterday there was a 5.9 richter scale earthquake in the US. On RT.com, there is a report suggesting a possible link between it and fracking as this is common throughout the US. It is not widely recognised but smaller earthquakes can be caused by actions of humans. For example in mountainous regions where big hydro-dams have been constructured, there has often been a series of small earthquakes in the area. The RT.com report says:

When sites are subjected to fracking, waste salt water is injected back into the earth once fractures are created; in some cases, as many as 3 million gallons of the waste can be put into the earth in each well. Though earthquakes out east are unlikely, Braxton County West Virginia, only 160 miles from the epicenter of Tuesday’s tremor, has seen eight minor movements in 2010 alone. That site has also seen a slew of fracking operations in the several years before it.

Explicitly, the United States Geological Survey has published a finding confirming that processes like fracking can be to blame for “natural” disasters. "Earthquakes induced by human activity have been documented in a few locations in the United States, Japan and Canada,” writes the USGS. “The cause was injection of fluids into deep wells for waste disposal and secondary recovery of oil and the use of reservoirs for water supplies."

Out West, geologists have blamed fracking on earthquakes that unexpectedly shook up the state of Arkansas, which recently saw over 20 small tremors in a single day. Freak earthquakes have also occurred in regions of Texas, New York and Oklahoma that should not be likely sites of epicenters, though those locales have all seen a rise in fracking in recent years.

Multi-stage fracking, which can drill several miles deep in the Earth, has only become prevalent in recent years. Once introduced, however, Arkansas, West Virginia and Texas all saw an unexpected increase in quakes across the region. The correlation has caused concern in other parts of the country, including West Virginia, where residents are asking lawmakers to reconsider the legality of fracking, which can not only cause earthquakes but is overall detrimental to the local ecosystem. One incident in central Virginia occurred in 2008 when fracking caused an explosion of a natural gas pipeline that created a fireball that stretched up to half a mile long and tall and injured five people.

Related Link: http://rt.com/usa/news/fracking-earthquake-virginia-dc-...-061/
author by lovely leitrimpublication date Thu Aug 25, 2011 10:08Report this post to the editors

seems like the perfect time for our parasitic electricity board to sell its prime land some of which is around the shores of lough allen , now they see the Price €€€ is indeed right for fracking companies to buy up this bonanza land and further undo the untold damage which aready exists in this area just healing itself from past industrialisation. To even consider fracking for gas anywhere on this island of ours is truely catastrophic environmental management or the complete lack of any. This attack on the people will not be tolerated until a full ban is implemented. Prime time at 9.35 tonite could be worth watching for more information on the subject would be great for the likes of mr tool as seen above.

author by S. H. O'Toolepublication date Thu Aug 25, 2011 17:08Report this post to the editors

The largest earthquake recorded in Ireland was 2.6, this was not caused by fracking. I understand that Ireland is one of the most stable land masses in the world and this was one of the reasons Intel invested 2b€ in the plant in Kildare. There is no doubt that there will be earth shaking activity associated with fracking as there is with any blast. It would probably be foolhardy to carry out fracking in an area subject to earthquakes. I think while we all have concerns about the environment, earthquakes are the least of our worries.

As with any controversy there are several opinions, few people are afraid of facts, civil dialogue is probably the best way to assess the situation.

author by Tpublication date Thu Aug 25, 2011 17:25Report this post to the editors

What a totally dishonest mis-representation you make. No-one remotely suggested that the largest earthquake in Ireland was caused by fracking. You then further go on to further mis-represent by saying: "It would probably be foolhardy to carry out fracking in an area subject to earthquakes" -which you wish to imply the recent quake in the US was in a geological unstable location which is incorrect because it is not generally prone to earthquakes and is also quite stable. Also everyone already knows that Ireland is one of the most geologically stable places around and you seem to use that statement to somehow show you are an authority on something and thereby to try and lend credibility to your slant.

What one should take away from the report on earthquakes is that the companies involved in fracking have no regard for anyone or the damage they cause to water supplies through pollution and all that matters is the bottom line and in the case of the US there may well have been damage caused by the quake which has landed unwanted costs on others. I can't even begin to imagine the cost of cleaning the drinking water supply to an area once it is contaminated.

author by Serfpublication date Fri Aug 26, 2011 05:08Report this post to the editors

"If an oil company is capable and willing to take out a bond assuring restoration of the environment in the event of a disaster, there is no reason why this chunk of change can't be taken out of the ground."

when did an oil/gas company ever properly clean up after itself after it got what it wanted?? get real. And by tool I presume you mean tool of the gas companies.

Plain water fracking my arse. They'll say anything to get in the door then who will know what shite they pump down their holes. They know this and our corrupt government knows this. it''s a BIG mistake to be taken in by these wolves in sheeps clothing talking softly about clean fracking and jobs and spending extra to take care of our environment and cleaning up afterwards. Horseshit. How stupid do they think we all are??

All we have left after the banks and shell is our tourism and our environment. these bastards will wreck the place and ruin the water and run off with their wad of quick cash leaving us with the mess for the sake of a few bad short term jobs.

Restoration of the environment my arse. Corporate externalities more like.

See niger delta for details of how this oil/gas story usually ends up for local people.

author by right onpublication date Fri Aug 26, 2011 14:14Report this post to the editors

tis amazing how rte manage to bamboozle an interview with up tempo repetative questioning an olde nazi tactic perhaps, miss doherty spoke well last night fair play to the woman she was up against two jokers one from rte and the other mr. richard moorman who can walk on water it seems, availble to watch on rte player for those who want to be misinformed by our state media again some goods points raised though

author by carrick gaspublication date Mon Aug 29, 2011 00:40Report this post to the editors

meeting in the bush hotel 1st of september Carrick on Shannon Co.Leitrim at 8pm hosted by lough allen conservation society it will be the first of many national anti hydraulic fracking discussions and info sharing

author by double deckerpublication date Sun Sep 04, 2011 20:24Report this post to the editors

By the big shots Tamboran Resouces
County Fermanagh community information meeting- Tuesday sept 6th at 7pm in Westville Hotel Enniskillen.

County Leitrim Community info meeting wednesday sept 7th at 7pm in Bush hotel Carrick on Shannon.

County Cavan community info meeting wednesday september 14th at 7pm in the Slieve Russell Hotel , Ballyconnell.

The meeting in the Bush hotel against Hydralic fracking had a massive turn out with some very positive feedback and local support, there was a detailed presentation outlining chemical uses which could be used if this process of extraction is not banned. Present at the meeting were politicans from Sligo, Roscommon and Leitrim. At the end of the discussion a statement was read from No Fracking Ireland group in Leitrim, Sligo and Roscommon. The anti-fracking petition is still on going at www.nofrackingireland.worldpress.com and also further info on facebook what the frack pages.
There is silent protest outside leitrim county council offices tomorrow monday from 4.30pm as Mr. Richard Moorman Ceo of tamboran will be meeting the county council all welcome espically our neighbours the mood will be black and lots of banners..

author by W. Finnertypublication date Mon Sep 05, 2011 11:03Report this post to the editors

‘‘This is a huge issue because once you’ve contaminated an aquifer you can’t go back,’’ says Fox, who will host a Q&A session after a screening of his film, Gasland, at the Cinema Nova in the Melbourne suburb of Carlton tonight. ‘‘It’s almost impossible to clean an aquifer, so your standard for drinking water should be ‘no risk’. Not ‘risk balanced with energy’, or ‘risk balanced with industry’, just ‘no risk’. Period.’’

The above excerpt has come from an article at:
http://www.gasland.com.au/2010/11/the-age-fracking-hell...myth/

Related Link: http://www.europeancourtofhumanrightswilliamfinnerty.co...l.htm
author by IRELANDpublication date Sun Jan 29, 2012 12:36Report this post to the editors

WE DON'T WANT HYDRO FRACTURING, END OF!!

author by aa - napublication date Wed Feb 01, 2012 14:02Report this post to the editors

Bond assuring restoration of the environment in the event of a disaster is Ridicules, the damage would be irreversible and cannot be repaired

author by Non Green.publication date Wed Feb 01, 2012 14:33Report this post to the editors

All technology is dangerous.
(A car is a lethal piece of hurtling machinery.)

We will forever be a beggar nation if we listen to well off Green people who themselves will never go hungry.

There are riches beyond compare under our feet.
Yet we don't use them.
(We go abroad to wash dishes in back-street New York cafes instead.)

We can dig out the riches under our feet without changing the climate or the landscape...... IF we use our ingenuity.
The Greens are too thick to realize that.

author by Andrewpublication date Wed Feb 01, 2012 15:56Report this post to the editors

We won't get rich because the terms the Irish state gives oil & gas fields to corporations under are the worst or 2nd worst terms in the world. Industry experts are now admitting that it is likely that the Irish state will get NOTHING from the Corrib field as Shell will be able to write off the small tax take against costs.

There is no smart way of stopping the use of fossil fuels producing greenhouse gases. As bad as that is the high energy inputs require by fracking mean that per unit of energy generate far more CO2 will be generated then from a conventional gas field.

So there is probably no upside.

The downside is that an area with a high economic dependence on agriculture and tourism will be subject to all the risks of long term pollution that always go hand in hand with the Oil & Gas industry. To this need to be added the additional and to some extent unknown risks to water supply and rock stability of the fracking process. As with Erris the gas might flow for short term gain for 25-40 years but any 'accidents' could generate pollution and damage to those other key industries in which thousands are actually employed for generations. This is particularly true for tourism in Ireland where the 'unspoilt' nature of the landscape (rather than the weather) is a key selling point. And likewise for agriculture where again international markets for Irish produce is based on the concept of products being particularly 'pure'.

author by Non Greenpublication date Wed Feb 01, 2012 16:15Report this post to the editors

Agree with you totally Andrew.

Allowing expert mining companies in, and paying them well, is one thing.
Giving them a reasonable cut is no harm.
They have expertise we don't have.

Allowing them to run away with Irish underground loot would be crazy.

We have already allowed oil and gas drillers to steal Irish Underwater Treasures.
At terrible cost to Ireland.
(Thanks to Irish politicians.)

No more looters!

author by Tpublication date Wed Feb 01, 2012 23:07Report this post to the editors

The Shale rock that traps methane is also likely to trap carbon dioxide and when you fracture large areas of rock, you are very likely release enormous quantities of CO-2 along with it.

I would also estimate that not all of the methane released from the shale is actually collected by the well piping network and this would mean there would be a significant release from a broad area, of methane into the atmosphere. And methane is about 70 times stronger as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide although it doesn't last as long in the atmosphere.

Production of shale gas has expanded rapidly from 11 billion cubic metres in 2000 to 135.8 billion cubic metres in 2010. This is more than a 12 fold increase and by implication so is the amount of leakage of CO-2 and CH4 from these shale areas.

Given that the most energy rich resources have been largely used up whether we are talking about the best coal, oil and most ore rich uranium, the trend now will be that we are digging deeper into the resources that have higher and higher carbon emissions per unit of energy AND lower and lower units of energy per kilogram/litre. Thus relying on dwindling quality resources that have massive pollution footprints in all their forms is suicidal for us all.

author by leftypublication date Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:49Report this post to the editors

methane is actually estimated to be 23 times as potent as a greenhouse gas T. but your points still stand and I believe we would be insane to let these looters in

Have people noticed that they are all suddenly moving in at this point in time on our resources. There's all these fracking finds and the Dalkey proposal etc. They have been sitting on this information for a while now until the time was ripe. They want us to be suitably frightened, desperate, jobless and compliant enough to allow them to destroy our environment, but at the same time they want our old "Ray Burke / Bertie Ahern exploration terms" on the licence and not any new European terms that might come in linked to our ever greater losses of soverignty to the EU.

Expect more and more pounces on resource finds they all have known about or been sitting on in the near future.

author by Non Green.publication date Thu Feb 02, 2012 16:08Report this post to the editors

Australia,Canada,Sweden etc. dig their wealth out from under the ground.
Expect the Irish Greens to ban further mining in Ireland.

Mining is not inherently harmful.
(Canadians,Australians and Swedish people live longer than the Irish.
They dig most of their wealth out from under the ground.)

The Greens are busy ,in their ignorance, forcing Irish people to beg money from Germans.
Germans don't hesitate to dig up the ground to get at the wealth underneath.

Germans and Americans are already planning to turn the Sahara Desert and Arizona-Nevada desert into powerhouses of solar energy.
Quite possibly no oil or gas of consequence will be needed in the USA or Germany after about 2050.
(Google up: "Solar Grand Plan".)

American and German scientists are way,way ahead of the Irish Greens, who try to stop mining jobs in Ireland because of what would be miniscule environmental affects on Ireland, and on the world climate as a whole.

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Sat Feb 04, 2012 10:18Report this post to the editors

..that the major objection to fracking is the effect(proven) on ground water pollution, not climate, which is already in runaway mode.

At the present rate of progress 2050 looks fairly dystopian. If we dont change radically soon 2030 dont look too appetising. Come to think of it, this year aint projected too rosy for our economic free-for-all idiocracy.

author by Unemployedpublication date Sat Feb 04, 2012 15:00Report this post to the editors


"I SPEAK FOR THE WHOLE COUNTRY
by IRELAND Sun Jan 29, 2012 12:36
WE DON'T WANT HYDRO FRACTURING, END OF!!"

Well, you DO NOT speak for the hundreds of thousands like me who would gladly work in the mine (or the shell gas in Mayo).

The earths goodies are ours to use, as man has done for centuries. If we didn't clear forests there would be no farmland. Turf, timber, coal, oil have all been extracted and the world didn't disintegrate.

Imports cost more.

Mines, wells and pipes means jobs and thats what the people of Ireland need right now, not a bunch of silly greens and rent a crowd protestors lecturing us. Get real.

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Sat Feb 04, 2012 15:20Report this post to the editors

..that the slaves will come to love their chains and their masters and be grateful for his kindness in feeding them and protecting them from seeing their enslaved condition.

Blissed are the ignorant, for they are ever sure of themselves.

author by Caoimhinpublication date Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:36Report this post to the editors

Just listened to a very interesting programme on Radio Netherlands Worldwide on fracking, Tuesday 7th Feb, mid morning. Earthbeat.org referred to many times, so it may be possible to listen back to it there. There are extended interviews with people from both sides of the issue on that site. Jessica Ernst, from Rosebud, Canada well worth listening to, she's being compared to Erin Brokowicz for what she has done.
If readers on this site know all this already, my apologies, but in light of last night's RTE Frontline programme, I think this was a balanced programme on RNW, and all parties could get something from it. Moratorium seems right.

author by ian hester - uisce domhain - water world europe Ltdpublication date Tue Feb 07, 2012 14:04Report this post to the editors

a Strategic Environmnental Impact Assessment(SEA) must be carried out- no 'fast tracking' by Mr Minister Pat Rabbit..I am concerned that Coillte's estate(that has shale rock) will be sold off as 'listed' in the STRATEGIC ASSETS to pay off our Soverign debt. In any eventuallity any Coillte land that is sold off, will present a precedent in that it will have a 'conflict of interest' regarding the european environmnental protective legislation(EU Habitats Directive,Water FRAMEWORK Directive) which would expose the whole european legislation as a 'sham'. You can't have it both ways.Furthermore as has occurred in Africa, we should have a substantial amount of the soverign debt cancelled by the ECB-IMF TROKIA-WORLD BANK- as 'debt for nature' swap scheme. We are but a third world economy so why not the biodiversity equity value of our Coillte woodlands to equivalent debt cancelled -so then we can keep all our Coillte estate. Biodiversity can be easily evaluated when you see American Pharmacuticals making huge profits from plants like in Madagasgar, but none trickle down to the locals. A lot of National Parks in Africa and other lands for set-a side- conservation schemes had soverign debt cancelled to fullfil this purpose.

I would like to remind Pat Rabbit , that he chaired the Strokestown Poets Convention,some time back, -and after all where do poets get their inspiration-not from fracking 'monsters' runing the landscape and our water quality.
At the end of the day -its one of two mindsets/intellect that will prevail -one the so called ' looney fringe'-opposing the fracking and the other the 'avarice' fringe who can't see the woods for the trees -even in hindsight of the boom -bust economy.
Well - its easy to guess which side I'm on.
slan
ian

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