Michael Staines
Michael Staines

15.01 19 Apr 2019


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Hundreds of demonstrators have begun a sit-down protest at Dublin’s O’Connell Bridge demanding urgent Government action on climate change.

The action is part of the international Extinction Rebellion movement that has seen protests across Europe in recent days.

Hundreds of people have been arrested for taking part in the protests in London in recent days – with further arrests this morning.

Extinction Rebellion Ireland said this afternoon’s action in Dublin aimed to highlight the Government’s “criminal inaction on the climate and ecological emergency."

Demonstrators gathered at the Spire before moving on to O’Connell Bridge to block traffic.

Similar protests are taking place in Cork and Belfast this afternoon.

Speaking to Newstalk, Protesters said the action was all about sending a message to the Government.

“There is only 12 years left,” one said. “I am not even going to be 30 by then and the world could be too messed for me and my family to have a proper life.”

“The Government is saying it is there to represent us, then step up and do it.”

Another said: “They never take action. No action has been taken so far so we just want to try and motivate the Government to say something or do something.”

Extinction Rebellion Ireland spokesperson Ciaran O’Carroll said the planet is being destroyed before our very eyes.

“The UN, the scientists, they are all telling us that this is our last chance to change.

“So a little bit of disruption now, hopefully, will save a lot of lives and really help pour children and our grandchildren in the future to lead the kind of happy lives we are living.”

Organisers said they are sympathetic to people and businesses who will be impacted by the disruption – but insisted that it is necessary to send a message.

The group is calling on the Government to declare a climate and ecological emergency and bring forward legislation to make Ireland carbon neutral by 2030.

It has warned that Ireland is set to miss its legally binding targets for reducing carbon by 2020 - with the country "at the very bottom of the EU table on decarbonisation."

Extinction Rebellion Ireland Extinction Rebellion Ireland protesters on O’Connell bridge in Dublin, 19-04-2019. Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews

It said it will continue to protest until the Government listens – or until they are removed from the Gardaí.

The movement follows on from the global Climate Strike protests which saw around 1.3 million students skipping class to demand immediate political action on climate change.

Around 300 police officers surrounded protesters in London this afternoon – targeting the large pink boat used as a symbol by protesters.

Officers also freed protesters who had attached themselves to the boat's frame.

Earlier, about 20 people holding a banner reading "are we the last generation?" gathered beside a roundabout at Heathrow airport.

There was a heavy police presence and all roads remained open.

The protests follow a number of dire reports on climate change and humanity's future.

In October, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that "rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society" are needed to limit the levels of global warming.

In November, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) warned that countries around the world will have to triple their efforts to cut greenhouse gases to have any chance of preventing a climate change catastrophe.

In February meanwhile, scientists confirmed that the last five years have been the warmest on record.


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