Leitrim County Council calls for end to drilling work by mining firm Tamboran

Councillors vote unanimously to seek the intervention of Taoiseach and British prime minister David Cameron

A mining company was accused of "an act of aggression" at an emergency meeting of Leitrim County Council yesterday.

Tamboran Resources recently moved equipment into a quarry on the outskirts of Belcoo, Co Fermanagh, provoking a round-the-clock demonstration by anti-fracking campaigners from North and South which has continued for 10 days.

An estimated 100 campaigners demonstrated in Carrick on Shannon as councillors voted unanimously to ask the Taoiseach and the Minister for Energy and Natural Resources Alex White to intervene with British prime minister David Cameron and Northern First Minister Peter Robinson to immediately call a halt to all drilling works by Tamboran Resources.

Tamboran has said it is engaged in “fact finding, not fracking” .


Leitrim County Council has already called for a ban on fracking in its county development plan. Councillors complained that Tamboran was availing of an apparent loophole in the planning process which allows drilling in a quarry, once it is licensed .

The status of the quarry licence in Belcoo is being examined by the authorities in the North, they were told .


Tamboran recently hand-delivered a letter to residents around Belcoo notifying them that they were preparing to drill a 750-metre borehole to collect rock samples, to see if it will be commercially viable to extract gas “at a much later date subject to full planning approval”.

Eddie Mitchell of the anti -fracking group Love Leitrim said the company's actions had significant implications for the Republic as "I have been informed by the Petroleum Affairs Division (of the Department of Energy) that Tamboran can use the results from Belcoo to support an application here".

“Only a very small part of the Lough Allen basin is in the North” said Mr Mitchell .




County Council due to hold a special meeting tomorrow to discuss the issue, Leitrim councillors also called for an urgent meeting with Mr White.

Several councillors complained that Tamboran had arrived in Belcoo at 5am on the morning of the July 21st and that the community had woken to the sight of razor wire and guard dogs protecting the site. Tamboran has since got a court injunction preventing some protesters from accessing the site.

Love Leitrim pointed out that anti-fracking groups had established a code of conduct in relation to the site and that a round-the-clock “peaceful protest” was ongoing.

In an address to yesterday's meeting on behalf anti-fracking groups Good Energies Alliance and Love Leitrim, Councillor Mary Bohan said that what was happening at Belcoo was stage one of the fracking process "and not independent research".

Des Guckian (Ind) accused Tamboran of “an act of aggression” saying it had launched a pre-emptive strike , arriving at 5am in the morning with round the clock security and fences.

Marese McDonagh

Marese McDonagh

Marese McDonagh, a contributor to The Irish Times, reports from the northwest of Ireland