Teacher on 200km 'anti-fracking' walk


LEITRIM-BASED teacher Cecily Gilligan set out from Manorhamilton on Saturday on a 215km (134-mile) walk to Leinster House in a protest at plans to start “fracking” in her area.

A member of the Love Leitrim group, which is against the controversial method of shale gas extraction, she intends to take the scenic route to Dublin through many of the towns and villages now bypassed by drivers.

“I hope when I am trudging along that people will ask me what it is all about and that I can explain to them the scale of this huge industrial project and what I believe is the irreversible damage it will do to our landscape and our air and our water,” said Ms Gilligan, who has walked 500km (310 miles) on the Camino de Santiago in Spain.

“It’s a small gesture but I believe that walking is a very simple powerful and symbolic way of getting your message out to people. Gandhi did and I hope that if I do get to Dáil Éireannn and get my few blisters along the way, that the politicians will listen to me.”

Earlier this year Australian mining company Tamboran Resources said preliminary investigations had confirmed a significant natural gas field in Co Leitrim that could supply Irish energy needs for 12 years, creating 600 jobs directly and a further 2,400 indirectly.

Ms Gilligan, from Collooney, Co Sligo, who works as a substitute primary school teacher, is accompanied by Mairead Higgins, a Sligo-based social worker.