Fracking in Ireland

John O’Connor is an Irish doctor working in Canada since 1993.

He recently provided this short post on fracking which, in case you haven’t come across the term, is an abbreviation of hydraulic fracturing. This process involves shattering rock at a very deep level under ground, in order to release gas and oil which would not normally be available for commercial exploitation.

It’s a highly-controversial process, with objectors pointing to both air pollution and water pollution.

Here’s what he says:



Fracking represents a huge  risk to water, land, air, animal and human life.

The Shale gas released is poisonous and invariably, along with fracking fluid (a cocktail of deadly toxins ), leaks and seeps into  groundwater.  This in turn contaminates domestic water and leads to, among other interesting phenomena, one’s ability to turn water into fire, at the flick of a Bic lighter.

The impact here in Western Canada – especially Alberta where I reside  – is typical.  Contamination, increased rates of human illnesses, increased rates of miscarriages in humans and animals, and inexplicable animal deaths are common in areas where fracking is carried out.

Now the US EPA has issued a preliminary report that supports the suggestion of impacts on water by the process of fracking   The EPA isn’t exactly the most outspoken usually but they’ve been great recently.  Big Oil and Gas, along with the disgraceful Canadian Federal Govt and their extreme white trash Republican US Party incestuously-related  cousins/ siblings, condemned this report immediately.

Leitrim and the Shannon, and all the other areas in Ireland where Shale gas is concentrated, will be dead zones, no live areas, for generations, if this goes ahead.  Don’t let Tamboran Energy or their mouthpieces fool you.  No fracking has ever been done without the use of fluids that no-one should be exposed to.  I laughed out loud when I heard Richard Moorman of  Tamboran on Prime Time claim that local authorities would monitor for any effects on the environment.  It took the EPA scientists, respected worldwide, to come up with their recent report. Who in Drumshambo, or Carrick-on-Shannon, will have a clue?   Not to besmirch the solid reputations of anyone in that neck of the woods. I’m sure they’re all out standing in their own fields, butDublin wouldn’t care anyway.   It’s all about revenue. Of course, if Dublin 4 was potentially going to be the focus of fracking, it’d be entirely a horse of a different colour.

Dr Jessica Ernst, here in Southern Alberta, worked with Big Oil/Gas as a scientist. Her acreage water supply suffered in the same way as many others had in terms of becoming combustible, curiously after the land had become fractured by the  same fluids. She has now a longstanding lawsuit against the companies she once worked for and she looks unbeatable. Unfortunately, these same companies tend to try to exhaust the resources of individuals like Dr Ernst and claim their expenses as tax exemptions under costs of doing business. Remember, once those multinationals get in, they are there to stay. We call it several things here, the “velvet handcuffs” being one popular term.

Ireland will gain nothing longterm, other than wholesale destruction and major health problems if fracking is allowed. As we say now here in Canada, if fracking comes to town, sell up and leave; your property will likely increase in value (somewhat), and will quickly become worthless, because the land and water will be unfit for human and animal life.  It happens again and again here.

Ireland was fooled once into thinking the streets were paved with gold. Don’t be fooled again!

27 thoughts on “Fracking in Ireland

  1. They are convinced here in the UK that it caused a minor earthquake off the Lancashire coast last year.I think they have stopped the fracking for now.

  2. “extreme white trash Republican US Party.”

    Be a geneticist would he , Dr. O’Connor ?

  3. There is an interesting documentary on this called “Gasland”. I believe it was shown on HBO. Various snippets are on Youtube, and here is a link to an interview with the film-maker
    For the conspiracy minded, in 2005 the US Congress at the behest of Vice President Dick Cheney (former CEO of gas driller Halliburton) exempted fracking from regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

  4. It seemed relevant enough for the good Dr. to bring it up but we’ll let that pass. Fracking only differs from other drilling because of the pressures involved. The same cocktail of chemicals in drilling mud are used as is pumping in water to displace the oil. Wells nearing the end of their production life have acids pumped in to get the last drop of oil. Methane escapes from some wells normally. The idea that an aquifer is somehow “linked ” to a shale deposit is nonsense. What is not disputed is that the pressures involved in fracturing requires the cementation around the casing to be absolutely techincally perfect otherwise a rupture can cause leakage. Up to the authorities to supervise the setting of the casing, so. Anywhere.

  5. In my opinion, this is something we should give serious thought to. while avoiding knee-jerk responses. It would be foolish to dismiss concerns about fracking without hearing all the arguments for and against and I’ll certainly be reading into it deeply.

    After all, none of us would want to be apologists for Big Oil, would we?

  6. “The idea that an aquifer is somehow “linked ” to a shale deposit is nonsense.”

    Linked or not, the US EPA seems to believe that the chemicals used in fracking are making their way into groundwater:

    “The Environmental Protection Agency released a draft study Thursday tying the technique, formally called hydraulic fracturing, to high levels of chemicals found in ground water in the small town of Pavillion, Wyo. EPA scientists found high levels of benzene, a known carcinogen, and synthetic glycol and alcohol, commonly found in hydraulic fracturing fluid.”

  7. Yes, Spikes, I agree that they could have found that in a town near a fracturing operation. But they can find that near towns where traditional methods are used.

    My own, completely worthless, opinion is that I wouldn’t trust the Irish government to take my dog for a walk, so lets not rush into hydraulic fracturing. ‘specially as they managed to allow the Corrib gas pipe to be welded, heat treated, x-ray bombed and the Minister admitted that he didn’t know that it had happened. However maybe he was lying. Either way.

  8. After watching the documentary ‘Gaslands’ I became concerned that this type of gas mining might be allowed here before people realise the damage that is being done to our ground water. I have tried to find the mining companies arguments for extracting gas from shale without causing pollution but have found little on the net.
    I am still searching but to date there does not seem to be a more benign method of extracting gas from shale rock and therefore hydraulic fracking is likely to be used in Ireland if licences are granted.

    The ‘Gasland’ documentary can be downloaded free and legally from here;

  9. Like Spikes I saw that documentary. It showed representatives of the companies in question being asked by councillors in New York state (I think) and they were unable to list all the chemicals used in the process. Scary stuff.

  10. wrt Gasland see this response form Colorado State officials

    wrt to fracking chemicals and composition

    source for above

    Should those involved know what’s in the fracking mix, possibly but then again should a rep from Glaxo know, off the top of their head, the mix of a specific medication when the ingredients have to be listed in order to sell it?

    Fracking is a fairly old technology revitalised by the advances in deep horizontal well drilling. The biggest risk factors comes from (as identified by the EPA)
    a) poor well sealing and casings, and quite frankly operators cough*Halliburton*cough have a lot to prove here.
    b) fracking water recycling and management, some operators are good, a lot are bloody awful.

    Fracking also reduces the need for gas imports, which threatens the current gas supply states. So just as those who are set to gain the most will seek to deify the whole process, whose with a lot to lose will seek to demonise it. Sadly the public debate will descend to the level of debate on topics such as, vacines & autism, US republicans & evolution, Man U vs Man C; and this is not a good thing.

    For Ireland, with the proper regulatory and inspection structures, and a sensible royalty system in place, it could be very beneficial.

  11. Well considering that it was enquiring of the industry representatives the benefits and risks involved with time to prepare to consult their own scientific experts, they should have known. It would be expected of a Glaxo rep. A good medical practitioner would ask those details.

  12. Delighted to hear that Clare County Council have agreed to ban Fracking in County Clare. They have also decided to amend the County Development plan to outlaw this mining method.

    Still hard to get independent objective information on this system of mining. When I google Fracking I get pages and pages of anti-fracking sites but little or no pro-fracking info.

  13. A grouping of medical specialists in the U.S have just voiced their concern regarding Fracking, calling for a moratorium on the practice until further investigation has elucidated the impact on human health.
    Perhaps the medical hierarchy in Ireland should find their gonads, and even based on the Precautionary Principle, demand the same of our government!

  14. And an update–Public Health Officials in Ireland are NOT prepared to look into potential health impacts on human health of hydraulic fracturing unless asked to by government! Yet we know government knowledge is simply regurgitated industry propaganda!
    Exact same position as here in Canada. Next thing, so called whistleblowers who raise the level of concern about this industry will be targeted, as has occurred also in Canada. Intimidation, political spin, misinformation, and downright boldface lies characterizes the output from the political-industrial complex that has congealed around the industry.

  15. Should anyone happen to find themselves in Sligo town on Feb 22, there’ll be a public meeting, with community, scientific and medical representation, on the topic of Fracking. The exact time and venue are not known to me at this minute. Hopefully industry and government will turn up.

  16. The French have banned fracking – I’d trust them to have made an informed decision more than our lot. The US are ruining places with fracking and yet there are big issues over water rights/scarcity.

    Water is more valuable than oil – you can’t live for more than three days without it; we’ll have to manage without oil someday, why put it off until we’ve wrecked our planet looking for it.

    “Only when the last tree has died, the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize that we cannot eat money.”
    Cree proverb

  17. I couldnt agree more, Maeve.
    If the responsible and accoubtable national authorities in Ireland were remotely concerned about the tiniest possibility of an adverse impact from Fracking, you would expect that someone would pick up the phone and talk with other jurisdictions that have banned or put a moratorium on it.
    It takes the progressive thinkers in Ennis, for instance, to lead the way. That may be the way to go–county by county.

  18. Sligo County Council unanimously voted to ban fracking in the county on January l6th. Leitrim county council had voted for a moratorium in December, Roscommon had voted in late 2011 for an outright ban, Clare County Council voted for a ban. Bundoran and Donegal Town Councils voted for a ban………………………..these are our elected representatives, and they listened to the people who voted for them. The CEO of the shale gas investment company with one of the options licenses (Moorman) came onto local radio, and, his voice harsh with emotion, declared that since Sligo County Council did not want Tamboran to invest in the county, Tamboran would withdraw its offer of between 600 and 1200 training places from Sligo IT. Sligo Institute of Technology were swift to refute Moorman’s claim, stating on the radio that although Tamboran had indeed approached the college, there were no training places to withdraw. Moorman then appeared on Shannonside Radio where he called “Anti Frackers”, anti development, anti capitalist, and furthermore said that despite the campaign of harassment, intimidation, and threats, he was determined to go ahead with drilling in North Leitrim. I shall report when I can on more “Moormanisms”. Adios for now.

  19. Dr. John O’Connor will present, “The Realities of Hydraulic Fracturing”, at the Clarion Hotel, Sligo on Feb 22nd at 8pm. The other speaker on the night will be Jessica Ernst Msc, a patch oil consultant with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. Her presentation is called “Fracking Inhumanity”. A questions and answers session is scheduled after the speakers, all are welcome, and the event is free.

  20. No Fracking in Ireland.
    No Corrib gas in Ireland.
    No windmills, please, near me.
    Defiantly no nuclear.
    And they should stop digging up the peat bogs in Longford.
    Someone (not us) should blow the crap out of Iran, Syria, Libya and Iraq so we can get our hands on their oil to keep our eco cars going and our CFL lamps alight.

  21. Really? Can you explain why you don’t want Corrib gas in Ireland? I certainly do. And also windmills and nuclear.

    Are you putting words in people’s mouths by any chance? (And you probably meant definitely, not defiantly, right?)

  22. They will frack for better or worse.Government is committed to providing for civil servants,dead or alive.Government will break any/all rules to keep the party going for themselves and their co-travellers.If fracking helps government keep the party going,it’s future is secure

  23. Hello all.
    If an oil company wanted to extract oil, and/or gas in County Clare by fracking, would that County Council ban simply be overridden from Dublin?

    It would seem to me, going on past form, said fracking would be completed despite anything any Council or community may wish; Probably accompanied by blue clad fellow countrymen waving batons. Or am I too cynical for my own good?

    PS. On this page when I had it open, was an ad enjoining me to invest in hydraulic fracturing. Hmm, will I follow the link?

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