We may only be three weeks into a New Year, but in the north Leitrim the community is still feeling under siege with the threat of mining for gold and silver a real and present danger.
The Manorhamilton area is still attempting to come to terms with the decision of the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan to grant a prospecting licence for Gold and silver to cover a region that has been targeted for fracking in the not too distant past.
The feeling of concern in relation to what could happen is all too familiar to the lobby group Treasure Leitrim that are firmly opposed to the granting of such licences.
Group representative Jamie Murphy and many of his fellow members were involved in a successful six-year campaign to ban fracking but now they must regroup and face another daunting challenge.
Minister Ryan has published notice of his intention to grant a prospecting licence to the Omagh based company Flintridge Resources for 47 named townlands in two separate areas, close to Manorhamilton.
Speaking to OceanFM this week Jamie Murphy says the community opposition to the project is still strong and that if mining was to go ahead in the area it would impact the community in Manorhamilton and further afield.
As of yet no definitive date has been signalled for when the process to introduce mining to the north Leitrim area will move to the next phase.
In the meantime Jamie Murphy says landowners in the region can refuse representatives of the company involved in carrying out prospecting work can refuse to gain them access to their lands:
There is representation from all of walks of the community in the Treasurer Leitrim movement.
While in Manorhamilton earlier this week John Lynch sought their views on the threat of mining still hanging over their region.
Local teacher, farmer and Agricultural spokesperson James Gilamartin say there are lop holes that the mining company could use to attempt gain access to farms without the permission of the farmers.
North Leitrim resident and community activist Dee Armstrong also hold many concerns in relation to any mining taking place in north Leitrim.
She says it’s vital that information on the impacts of mining on the environment need to be provided to the population of the North West.
Another local resident, Mary Phair explains how that they have sought information from community groups impacted by similar types of mining across the border in Tyrone.
She fears if something similar happens in Leitrim local residents could be facing difficulties in securing home insurance policies in the future.
Jamie Murphy says a well organised well-educated campaign could provide a similar successful outcome to the anti-fracking efforts which eventually resulted in the practice being banned in the Republic of Ireland: