Aontú Councillor Denise Mullen has spoken out against the continued issuing of mineral licences in the north of Ireland despite the fact that Stormont is mothballed for over two years.

Cllr Mullen stated:

“While the parties of the establishment allow dust and cobwebs to gather in Stormont, communities across the six counties are coming under significant threat. Despite no Minister doing their jobs, mineral licences are being issued by Stormont departments.

“Vast tracts of land in our counties are being prospected for their mineral wealth. Large multinational fossil fuel companies are seeking to frack shale gas from some rural communities. £20 billion in shale gas is said to lie in the ground under Fermanagh alone.

“There are major problems with what is happening. Firstly, very little, if any, real consultation is happening with the communities that live, farm and work in these areas. There are significant fears with regards the possible health and safety threats that will arise with the extraction and exploitation of these resources. People are naturally worried that homes, farms and businesses will lose significant value or become worthless if these projects go ahead.

“Most of these projects consist of large multinational investment firms parachuting into communities and leaving little in terms of real jobs or income in their wake. The royalties from these proposed projects will be paid to London and will have no effecting on the welfare of local communities.

“Aontú supports communities and campaigns who are fighting to protect their families. We oppose fracking 100% and all other extraction must only be carried out if it has the support local communities and if it will be of benefit to local communities.”