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Anti-fracking (Shale Gas) meeting in Leitrim

category leitrim | environment | news report author Thursday July 14, 2011 19:09author by Contaminated Crow Report this post to the editors

Report back on meeting

Over 60 people attended a meeting of those opposed to proposed gas fracking in the north-west at the Mayflower in Drumshambo, Co. Leitrim on the night of July 12th. The major concerns raised at the meeting were organisational, with the –still nameless- group agreeing to the formation of a ‘core group which isn’t called a core group’.

Editor: Fracking is technology used for extracting natural gas trapped in rocks underground and is the process of forcing liquids and solids into the rock and forcing it to crack and thereby releasing the gas. Fracking liquids can cause pollution and the process of cracking the rock can significantly drop the water table and dry out huge areas.It has many other problems including exponential fall-off in production from year 1.

Over 60 people attended a meeting of those opposed to proposed gas fracking in the north-west at the Mayflower in Drumshambo, Co. Leitrim on the night of July 12th. The major concerns raised at the meeting were organisational, with the –still nameless- group agreeing to the formation of a ‘core group which isn’t called a core group’. This was the third meeting of its kind, but the first one this observer attended. Two people –Charlie, an English woman who chaired the meeting, and Paul, an American man who had proposed a structure for the group- stood at the front by a flip-chart and appeared to direct the meeting, while everyone else sat around in a circle on chairs. As is usual at such meetings, most of the audience didn’t speak, though more people spoke later when the meeting broke up into smaller groups.

The meeting’s main focus was organisational. The current structure has involved the formation of what are called ‘focus groups’ (which appear to be specialised work groups) dealing with legal issues, technical/scientific issues, research, media and communications (the largest group by far), fundraising (the smallest group, surprise, surprise), etc., as well as the formation of locally-based groups, which has been disappointing so far: four possible local groups were mentioned at the meeting –Ballinaglera, Drumsna, Kinlough and another whose name I didn’t catch.

Four different proposals on structure were proposed to the meeting, with a woman named Lia proposing a network structure in which local groups would make their own decisions and determine their own actions, while coming together in an umbrella group to share information, while Paul and John proposed a core or hub group being given strategic and monitoring responsibilities. The fourth proposal, by a woman named Saskia, argued that legal action was what would stop fracking and so a limited liability company should be formed for that purpose. This last proposal was ignored in the following discussion which was mainly on issues of autonomy, responsibility, representation and democracy, with fears expressed over how much control the central group would have and whether the core group would impinge on the freedom of local groups and individuals to undertake their own actions, while other concerns such as the need for effective decision-making and to respond quickly to company statements were raised by supporters of the core group proposal, During the discussion one lone voice was raised pointing out that there had been no discussion of the strategy implicit in the proposals while two people raised concerns over how much of the campaign was being conducted online, pointing out that many people had no internet access: while this was acknowledged, it was not discussed further. One person who raised this issue pointed out that most people in Leitrim read the local paper and said groups should use the Local Notes section of the Leitrim Observer to announce events.

Following a tea/cigarette/discussion break, the meeting reassembled to hear a modified proposal from Paul for the formation of a core group (which wouldn’t be called a core group, as many people had difficulties with the implications of the name) which would be given two weeks to define its area of operation, just as the focus groups had been given the autonomy to define their areas of operation/specialisation, with a call for people to trust those in the core group and a suggestion that the group be comprised of representatives from the ‘focus groups’, with the group no larger than 10 to 15 people for effective decision-making. Surprisingly, despite the previous discussion, most present voted for the proposal, with no-one voting against, but a number of abstentions. (This observer abstained.) The meeting then broke up into the ‘focus groups’ for discussion of nominations to the core group and to organise these groups’ future meetings and activities. The meeting ended after the groups returned with nominations for the core groups.

While there have obviously been disagreements about the best form of organisation for opposition to fracking in the northwest and there’s an immediate need for the base of the opposition to broaden –in particular, to mobilise the farming community- so far there has been some great work undertaken autonomously by various groups and individuals. The film Gasland continues to be shown at meetings throughout the county while a recent picket on a County Council meeting drew some 50 protesters. Cinema North-West, which began the local discussion by showing the Gasland film back in May in Drumshambo will be showing the film in Dromahair this Friday, July 15 at 8PM, while screening by various groups will take place shortly in Cootehill, Geevagh and Knockvicar.

A variety of Facebook and other sites have been started (see http://www.facebook.com/pages/No-Fracking-Ireland/21739...84498 or http://www.facebook.com/WhatTheFrack ) and some 2000 leaflets were handed out and 600 signatures on a petition against fracking were obtained last weekend in Carrick-on-Shannon. Finally this Saturday, McGirls in Ballinamore will host a benefit gig from 5.30 this coming Saturday (http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=232039040163294).

author by Serfpublication date Thu Jul 21, 2011 17:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

For those of you unfamiliar with the term "fracking" watch the documentary "gasland"

Here it is in full. Just ignore the polish subtitles. it's in english.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3L4YJo5TPk

Gas "Fracking" is a disgusting and cynical corporate crime against the environment.
They pour a highly toxic and corrosive "proprietary" chemical cocktail down a hole to chemically release the gas, then it comes out. The highly toxic chemical soup ends up who knows where, lough allen, your water supply, in your vegetables etc. and the gas itself pops up all over the place. The most disgusting method yet for extracting fossil fuel.

I guess it's no problem for the sociopaths in business / privatisation friendly FG though

These treasonous politicians must really hate their country and its people to give out licences to do this. Why not nationalise the offshore corrib gasfield instead if they want gas at cheaper rates?

of course we all know why don't we? swiss bank account number xxxxxxxxxx. Thats why!!
Probably the same reason they'll allow this shit to happen here too.

author by old codger - pensionerpublication date Mon Jul 18, 2011 12:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I remember a time before we were conned into joining the EU when Raymond Crotty revealed his ideas as to what Irleand would lose on joining he was castigated and demonised by politicians. Every thing he said has come true. The politicians then Had only one purpose to get handouts and increase their prospects for illustrious careers,
NOTHING HAS CHANGED.
The useless idiots we have now have the same mindsets and are devoid of creativity and ingenuity.
Ireland was the cleanest country in Europe we had the best fishing grounds ideal for food production.We could have been independant and free, instead we have been conned into slavery again by the same hypocrites that proclaim respect for the men that gave their lives for Ireland.
Our natural resources are being stolen from under our noses and the people ignore it, we are in grave danger of our environment being poluted and destroyed by gas Fracking and refining and the people ignore it and it is all being done by top civil servants and politicians
to line their own pockets while the people still ignore it.
UNTILL THE PEOPLE WAKE UP AND GIVE THESE CON MEN WHAT THEY DESERVE WE WILL REMAIN AS SLAVES.
Learn what has happened to the people that are fighting SHell in Erris. While they fight the politicians and civil servants are facillitating SHells every wish. If you want to fight fracking then do not let the politicians facillitate it under your noses.
If they brutalise you for peacefull protest then chose another way.

author by Marc Spublication date Sat Jul 16, 2011 13:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'm guessing this was a public meeting, and so Contaminated Crow is in theory justified in reporting the minutiae of the groups dynamics and issues in this very public way. However, I would sound a note of caution - if your intentions towards this nascent campaign are good (and I have no doubt but that they are the best) then I would recommend all to refrain from such a public microscope on their early movements.

People are naturally shy, particularly in rural areas, and no better way than this to deter potential newcomers who may not have participated in campaigns before.

Groups intheir early stages are like delicate and diaphanous, beautiful creatures. THey need to feel their way, bed down, make a few false turns and follow a few blind alleys, maybe make a few mistakes, before maturity, strength and mutual trust are created. WHy share their every doing with every casual passerby and with their opposition? Not that theres anything to hide but why give the opponents more insight than we need to? For anyone who wants to smash a group like this at it's early delicate stage- and rest assured there are plenty of people and orgnaisations lining up to do just this - then the kind of information in the article above is like gold dust.

It's possible with a little sensitivity and imagination to report on a group's meeting without prejudicing the group's chances of success.

author by rpublication date Fri Jul 15, 2011 15:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

...But, unless I've misread something it seems to suggest that a core group that doesn't like the honesty of the name which describes it, is to be allowed to "define its area of operation" and to be given "strategic and monitoring responsibilities"? Wow, and that's going to happen before the establishment of local groups?? I can see the locals will be just queuing up to have theses two English and an American activists determining what their modus operandi will be.

 
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