Senior medic gives Fermanagh talk on fracking impact

Drilling for gas The gas is extracted from shale rock through hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

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A medical expert from Canada has warned about the impact of shale gas exploration on people's health in County Fermanagh.

Dr Eilish Cleary, chief medical officer of New Brunswick, addressed several hundred people in Enniskillen on Monday evening.

The issue of fracking has divided the community in Fermanagh in recent years.

Dr Cleary had been invited by a group in Fermanagh concerned about the implications of fracking in their area.

Hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, involves drilling down and creating tiny explosions to crack the hard shale rocks to release the gas inside.

Critics say it can pollute water and cause minor earthquakes. But the Australian-based exploration company Tamboran insists the process is safe.

The firm outlined its plans to the Stormont Enterprise Committee last June.

On Monday evening, Dr Cleary said it was about finding a balance.

"Income is important and employment is important and can influence health, but not necessarily so," she said.

"If the money is used in a wise way then there can be benefits; there can also be negative impacts to industry.

"It is really about a balance. How do you find the middle ground between allowing industrial development but at the same time protecting health?"

Shale gas extraction graphic

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