Arlene Foster faces fracking controversy

Published Thursday, 24 November 2011
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The Green Party is calling for Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster to resign following allegations connected with fracking, a controversial technique to extract natural gas from the earth.

It has been revealed that Mrs Foster's husband owns 54 acres of land in Co Fermanagh within the gas exploration zone.

In a statement, the Minister's department said the awarding of licences were "determined by a panel'' and that the minister "had no direct involvement in the selection process".

If a family member applied for prospecting on any land, the minister "would of course declare an interest where necessary."

A DUP spokesman said the landowner in question has "never been contacted" by a fracking company nor any third party acting on behalf of that firm and warned Mrs Foster "will robustly defend her name and reputation" against any allegation of wrongdoing.

First Minister Peter Robinson defended his party colleague, but Ulster Unionist assembly member Mike Nesbitt said questions still need answered.

"Quite clearly this is an issue about which Mrs Foster has a good deal of familiarity. It is obvious that she also understands the importance of securing a locally based energy supply.

"Surely one could have expected the Minister to take a greater interest in a subject about which she is clearly well briefed and which she regards as important?" he added.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Yvonne in Belfast wrote (1,157 days ago):
In recent times we have received the occassional visit to Northern Ireland by " Sharks " This should not in any way alarm us or create newspaper headlines for as everyone knows we have far more " Sharks " sitting in the Northern Ireland Assembly than ever visited our shores.
Billy in Belfast wrote (1,158 days ago):
How dare the DUP dismiss this without proper transparency. This Party is treating us all with Contempt and owes the Northern Irish Public an explanation by this refusal to properly declare Assets. Aren’t we sorely mistaken when we thought we were being Represented by Above Board Wanna Be Politicians. Yes there are some very Serious Questions that need answered, and yes we do have the Right to Know how many more Skeletons are Hiding in the Cupboards of these so-called Representatives. All I can say is with at least two Scandals in as many weeks, how much longer are we going to keep turning a Blind Eye.
John in Belfast wrote (1,158 days ago):
Peter Robinson on 'Hearts and Minds' referred several times to the term 'frackling.' Is this similar to fracking or is it some new oil extracting process.
JAE in Fermanagh wrote (1,158 days ago):
We must be fair here and admit that Arlene hasn't actually done anything wrong? These are mere suggestion that she is hiding something in that she didnt tell the Assembly or the select committee who decided on the drilling exploration contract. I would also assume undoubtedly that she as being a joint owner of the land with her husband has declared this as a business interest at Stormont. A big blow-out in a gas well if you know what I mean?
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