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James Orr among five people charged in connection with protest at Woodburn Forest site

James Orr, Director of Friends of the Earth, has been charged in connection with a protest at Woodburn Forest. Picture by Cliff Donaldson
John Monaghan

NORTHERN Ireland Friends of the Earth director James Orr, was among seven campaigners arrested at the site of a controversial oil drilling project in Co Antrim on Sunday evening.

Mr Orr has been a prominent campaigner against plans by InfraStrata to carry out an exploratory oil drill at Woodburn Forest near Carrickfergus.

He is among five people, including four men aged 57, 51,and two 25-year-olds, expected to appear at Belfast Magistrates Court on Friday, July 8 charged with causing a breach of the peace and obstructing police.

A 26-year-old woman is among those charged. 

A 28-year-old woman was arrested at a protest at Woodburn on Sunday on suspicion of breach of the peace but was later released pending a report to the Public Prosecution Service.

A 26-year-old man was also arrested at the scene but police said he was later 'de-arrested'.

Three people were arrested at the site in the space of seven days last week. 

Campaigners are continuing their protests, concerned about the potential impact on the water supply to thousands of homes in Belfast and across Co Antrim.

Northern Ireland Water has previously said that it has "no concerns" about the quality of the drinking water.

PSNI Chief Inspector Stephen McCauley said: "I would like to remind everyone that the PSNI respect the rights of people to protest as long as it is within the parameters of the law. 

"Anyone who chooses to participate in the protest should do so peacefully.

"Where offences are being committed or where actions may lead to a breach of the peace, police will intervene and address these issues as they occur."

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