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Fidelma O'Kane

Fidelma O'Kane

Fidelma O’Kane is Secretary of Save Our Sperrins, a campaign group of residents from the Sperrins Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, protesting a planning application from Dalradian Gold Ltd for a gold mine and processing works since 2014. Formerly a social worker and lecturer, Fidelma O’Kane turned her efforts to environmentalism upon her retirement. Among other features, the Sperrins contains 10,000-year-old raised bogs, Old Sessile Oak Woods, and is home to the Freshwater Pearl Mussel, Ireland's only globally endangered species. In 2017, Fidelma took a Judicial Review against Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) and Dalradian, after the Environment Agency granted Dalradian a Discharge Consent to flush water containing 9 heavy metals, including arsenic, mercury, cadmium, chromium, zinc, and lead, into Owenkillew River, which is designated as a Special Area of Conservation due to the presence of Freshwater Pearl Mussels. After 23 months in the High Court in Belfast, in November 2019 the NIEA finally conceded and the Discharge Consent was quashed. In 2021, Fidelma travelled to London to appeal to the Crown Estate not to renew the lease for further mineral extraction. In addition to her work with Save Our Sperrins, Fidelma O’Kane is involved in Friends of the Earth Northern Ireland and Communities Against the Injustice of Mining (CAIM), an all-Ireland group to prevent further mining in Ireland.

Fidelma O’Kane’s archive contains artefacts and documents from the Save Our Sperrins campaign, including protest signage, maps (including plan of facilities at the proposed Curraghinalt site, available to view at the Linen Hall Library), leaflets, objection letters, newspaper articles, stickers, and a T-Shirt and programme from a Gaelic football match between Tyrone and Greencastle teams in solidarity with the Save Our Sperrins campaign. 

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