Greetings fellow Fermanagh folk and all you welcome visitors whether you're here for the fishing, the walking, the boating, the G8, or just for a bit of our craic. I am now going to pitch a proposal at you and I want you to visualise what I suggest in your minds very clearly and then to be 100 per cent honest with yourselves about how it makes you feel. Ok here goes�� I want to transform a pristine unique natural environment. A lush, green, fertile, healthy land of clean running waters and vast lakes filled with fish and birds, some of which can only be found here. A land so clean and healthy that it abounds with farms large and small. A land whose natural produce is feted and sold throughout the world. A land where thousands of people come year upon year to spend their precious time off as the memories they will accrue here will see them through until their next precious break when they will probably return and spend it here again.

Now: I want to drill here. I want to drill for shale gas. I propose sinking a vast 'Spaghetti Junction' of pipelines beneath huge swathes of this green and precious land. Then I will pump millions of litres of water sourced from those wonderful lakes, mixed with millions of litres of dangerous chemicals into the cracks I have pre-made underground with many small explosions. This will force the shale gas back up my pipes to the surface where at some point I will work out how to refine it and feed it into our energy systems. This of course will also release untold amounts of many other dangerous gasses into your air for you to breath. The heavily polluted water chemical mix will also resurface and be kept lying around in huge holding pools where we will hope and pray it doesn't leak into the beautiful water systems above and below our pristine surface even though it nearly always does.

I will also admit that the technology is very new, unregulated and unproven. I will at first promise you loads of jobs and later admit there will be few and probably not many for locals. There will be many examples of other wonderful communities like yours around the world where such drilling has wreaked havoc; poisoning dead livestock, destroying drinking water supplies, making children sick, fracturing friendships and communities, making local produce unmarketable and putting an end to any tourists even considering showing up.

In order to implement all of this I will of course have to turn vast tracts of Fermanagh into concrete industrial zones. I will need to build many roads through previously environmentally protected areas to let in the hundreds of noisy trucks that will drive through your county day and night to the noisy drilling pads that blast away for 24 hours a day. I am guessing at this point that 99.9 per cent of you have heard enough.

Now throw into the mix that the government of the Republic of Ireland have banned any experimental drilling until some proper tests and results of the effects can be produced. Then consider the fact that the Northern Irish government have ignored this and granted licences for wells in Fermanagh and that Arlene Foster the Minister responsible is 'actually from Fermanagh'.

Finally, when you mull over the possible reality of tremors in the earth caused by the drilling and explosions and the massive risk of radiation and chemical poisoning from whatever is released from the depths you will inevitably deduce that my mental health has declined and that I have convinced myself I am stuck in one of the more preposterous episodes from the last series of Primeval.

Unfortunately not. This folks is where we are actually at. The important word here is we. This is about us now. We need to pull together and shout a loud and categoric NO to what is undoubtedly the biggest environmental and social threat in the history of this county.

Our two main industries here are farming and tourism and neither can co exist with fracking. Before any actual incidents of contamination are even considered the very stigma of it happening here at all will destroy confidence in the clean healthy image of the county and its produce. Our tourism is very strong at the minute in a saturated competitive market but if you have to make a decision on where your kids will swim next summer will you go to Kerry or Clare or take a risk on Lough Erne after all you have heard about the possibility of chemicals running throughout Fermanagh's hydrology system?

Tamboran, the Canadian company who will drill here, have conceded themselves that only a 'possible' 180 people will be required to man the 60 proposed drilling pads. Three men per pad. They will mostly be experts from Canada. So banish from your heads any stories you have heard about 'bringing a load of jobs' to the county 'during a recession'. It just won't. There will be some work involved in construction at the start for a short period of time and that is it.

It is about money of course, it always is, but you won't see any of it. It is about taxing the gas company upwards of 50 per cent on what they extract and sell. I have heard various figures being quoted to as high as 63 per cent tax! There are approximately 5,000 people employed through agriculture alone in Fermanagh. Why destroy an entire industry for a handful of jobs and a possible minimal reduction in energy prices? There are roughly 800 people directly employed by the tourism and fishing industries before we even consider every pub, hotel, guest house, restaurant, take-away, petrol station and ice cream van from Rosslea to Ederney and back again. 85 per cent of all fishing licences sold in Northern Ireland are sold in Fermanagh. That's a lot of anglers, myself included, travelling to use our waterways and to spend some money in the area. One chemical spill, one fish kill and you can forget all about that too.

Finally I offer you the most chilling fact of all. In north America and elsewhere in the world there are very strict rules when it comes to fracking depths. No one in America is allowed to drill within 1,200 metres of any water tables for a start. In Fermanagh there is drilling proposed to within 500 metres of important drinking water sources. The shallowest ever. The United States Environmental Protection Agency have voiced "Grave Concerns" about the proposed drilling depths for 'Shallow' fracking as it is officially known in Fermanagh. In Canada and the USA even at 1,200 feet there are numerous cases and reports of poisoned drinking wells and sources. Why will Fermanagh at 500 metres be anything else? Those who promote fracking often proffer the statistic that there has been fracking for 60 years and not one proven case of contaminated water. That is traditional conventional fracking. What we are dealing with here is Non Conventional High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing which has only been used in the USA since 2005 and has caused problems wherever it has been carried out.

People of Fermanagh, you and your beautiful county will essentially be used as one massive guinea pig and you were never even given a choice. These decisions at government level in the UK and In the Republic could never be taken without input and consultation with the Health ministry and the Environmental ministry. The reasons they have delayed drilling until better evidence is available are totally environment and health based. Due to the fractured nature of inter-departmental structure at Stormont however these two departments in Northern Ireland don't have to be and never have been consulted about fracking in Fermanagh. The decision is being taken by the Department of Enterprise Trade and investment alone.

I will leave you with a quote from the excellent 'Fracking in Fermanagh' film screened in the Ardhowen theatre last week. The film is a must see for anyone who lives here. It is available for free on the Fracking Awareness website The film was made by some conscientious, talented young people from Fermanagh. The Minister Arlene Foster was twice asked for input or attendance by the youngsters and both times flatly refused. Towards the end of the film a passionate Belcoo man says simply: "It is not our planet, we have been loaned it to look after before we give it back to our children."

In essence, we are the caretakers of a beautiful fragile ancient world. If I was the caretaker of a beautiful fragile ancient building and I drilled holes in it and pumped it full of toxic chemicals I would fully expect to get the sack. Lets be honest guys, I would fully expect a long stretch inside. So have a think folks and take a look at the Frackaware website. Surely the debate should only be starting here? Why are these decisions already been forced through? I look forward to a proper debate on what really is best for our county.