Reflections from ‘Making the Connections: No Fracking’ event

Afri funded and coordinated a group of anti-fracking activists from Spain and the UK  to come to Ireland on a four day visit over the weekend of November 27th 2015. Their visit began with them giving a talk in Dublin, hosted by the Worker’s Solidarity Movement in Jigsaw. The following day they made their way to Co Leitrim and on to  Fermanagh to  meet members of the anti fracking group LAMP (Letterbreen and Mullaghdun Partnership). A visit to the site of the planned exploratory well in Belcoo followed before the main event Making the Connections, Fracking No!Poster no fracking web

Making the Connections, Fracking No! took place in The Glens Centre in Manorhamilton, Co Leitrim on November 28th,  bringing together anti fracking activists from northern Spain, England and Ireland in an evening of theatre, singing, discussion, music and dancing.

Donal O’ Kelly performed his awarding winning one man show ‘Fionnuala’, in which the human rights abuses perpetrated at the hands of Shell during the Corrib Gas Project in Erris, Co Mayo are starkly conjured up. Spanish surtitles accompanied the performance to critical acclaim and oddly timed laughter!

Next up came the Kidz from the Glen who sang an anti-fracking song called Stand Up for Ireland written by Michael Mc Loughlin.

Then, four speakers  took to the stage for a lively and stimulating series of talks about the various anti-fracking resistance movements. Clara Noriega from Cantabria and Eduardo Rodrigo from Burgos in Spain gave an account of the current situation there, describing the campaigns used to inform people in sparsely populated rural areas of the threat of fracking. Information stands, door to door leafleting, talks in town halls, rallies and marches all formed part of the work of both anti fracking assemblies in Cantabria and Burgos. Photos of pristine valleys, waterfalls, rivers and small scale farming, not unlike the landscape in parts of Leitrim and Fermangh, acted as visual reminders of the imperative of protecting our respective environments against hydraulic fracturing.

Rachel Thompson from Manchester gave an overview of the anti fracking movement in the UK and highlighted the successes to date in Balcombe and Barton Moss.

Tom White highlighted the need to ensure that the EPA research study in Ireland is stopped, on the basis that it is being carried out by CDM Smith, a company itself involved in the shale and gas industry in the US and Poland.

DJ Enda from Firehouse Skank finished off the evening to the beat of reggae tunes.

The idea for the international solidarity event was born out of a trip to the Basque Country in July by Leitrim-based activist Caitriona Kelly to attend Frackanpada 2015. This international gathering of anti-fracking activists brought together people from over fifteen countries for six days of workshops, talks, debates, plenary sessions, theatre, film and art around the themes of fracking, the environment, TTIP, sustainability, food sovereignty and much  more. Connections were made, solidarity forged and the way paved for creating Making the Connections, Fracking No!

Report written by Caitriona Kelly

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