We have seen grassroots campaigns sprout up all over the region.
In Belfast, the beginnings of what could be in future a Northern Ireland wide campaign group have begun to fall into place, with a successful showing of “GASLAND” followed by a panel discussion in the Black Box which drew in 120 people – a clear indication that this is an issue weighing heavily on the minds of many.
The Campaign Against Fracking has been repeatedly thrashed by Arlene Foster, the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment as “scaremongering” and “shameful”. But what is shameful in reality is Foster keeping her vested interest in fracking secret – an interest that’s 54 acres in size and in a prime location for fracking companies. These revelations coupled with a report by a Manchester based research group that fracking for natural gas is worse for the environment than coal extraction means that whilst anti-fracking campaigners and groups are stepping forward, confident that they can tackle Stormont, Foster was left in a weak position ahead of a key debate on holding a moratorium on fracking on December 6th.
All of this points to the campaigns against fracking having made substantial gains in the last few months with many more to be gained as more and more politicians, workers and students come to realise the very menace waiting at our doorstep.
This said, we should not hold undoubting faith in the Stormont Assembly to stop this. Foster has shown us the potential for corruption. The key is for us to organise ourselves and develop a mass campaign to pile on the pressure on the MLA’s here to hold an indefinite moratorium at the very least, with the ultimate aim of banning fracking altogether.