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Why are our politicians putting fracking first?

AGAINST the backdrop of the complete failure of her department to create any jobs in Fermanagh, Arlene Foster originally (uncritically) championed fracking as a huge boon to the county.

In the intervening period she has learned to be more circumspect and echoes the fracking companies themselves in highlighting the need for the process to be done in "an environmentally safe way". It is unfortunate that her DUP colleague Diane Dodds didn't seem to feel the same way when she voted in the European Parliament against enforcing mandatory environmental impact assessments for fracking, alongside Jim Nicholson of the UUP.

The reality is that Arlene Foster has not had a 'Saul on the road to Damascus' conversion to environmental safety. The truth is that she and the fracking industry recognise that they are losing the arguments. The industry has been forced to admit that the impact on lowering energy costs will be insignificant; they have sharply reduced the number of jobs they say will be created.

At the same time the industry and its proponents are keen to talk up the need for effective regulation. This is clearly an attempt to assuage public opposition. Why are politicians like Arlene Foster serving the interests of the fracking industry, rather than the people they were elected to represent? These are the questions that should be asked by voters when they are visited by politicians in the coming weeks.

DONAL O'COFAIGH

Fermanagh Against Fracking

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