Frack Free chair, Tom White, called for clarifications from the SDLP
over recent revelations that posed the possibility of a breach of the
"This revelation poses obvious questions in regard to a potential conflict of interest and they need to be addressed by the Minister and also the SDLP. Mr Brendan Scott, the Minister’s husband, and Mr Brendan Mulgrew both formerly worked at Stormont for SDLP Ministers and MLAs.
“Mr Scott and Mr Mulgrew's company MW Advocate provide public relations and advocacy for one of the companies, EHA Exploration, applying for a petroleum licence near lough Neagh. There are shortly to be decisions on petroleum licensing policy and the granting of petroleum licences brought to the Executive and Minister Mallon will be expected to vote on those matters.
"This conflict of interest has not been declared or registered. We await how the Minister and the SDLP announce how they will deal with this. Some have advised that Belcoo Frack Free should concentrate our efforts on the Department for the Economy not the Department for Infrastructure but in fact the real effort needs to be on shining a light on the activities of the oil and gas industry here.
"Mr Scott and Mr Mulgrew have no ordinary role in their dealings with EHA. Their role is to provide a communications strategy for EHA to communities and to political decision makers in local government and at Stormont. Their job is to sell the notion that Northern Ireland needs an oil and gas industry onshore.
"The oil and gas business is yesterday's industry but it refuses to go down without a fight. We must remain alert and where this industry is shown to have undue influence, we must call it out even when in the past those decision makers or their party have protected our community through their actions. We re-iterate our call on the Minister for the Economy and the Executive to respect the motion passed in the Assembly on 13th October last to reject petroleum licensing onshore in Northern Ireland, and to pass legislation to this effect."