Climate minister Eamon Ryan will go to COP26 in Glasgow after all. The Green Party leader tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday night after taking a test as a precautionary measure.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar also took tests "out of an abundance of caution". Both results came back negative.
Mr Ryan announced he would be unable to travel to Scotland and instead self-isolate at home. However, on HSE advice he took a second COVID test, the result of which was negative.
The result of the second test means he is free to attend COP26 after all and will leave on Monday - a day later than originally planned.
Protests in Ireland
The news of Mr Ryan’s positive test came hours after thousands of people turned out in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Limerick, all calling for swift cuts in carbon emissions.
Environment journalist John Gibbons told Newstalk that he was not surprised the issue had brought so many people out onto the street:
“I think the penny is beginning to drop. I think the summer of 2021 [had] so many extremes all around the world - especially in the northern hemisphere.
“I think the message is getting through loud and clear that we’re in a climate emergency. People recognise that and people are fearful for their kids’ future as they should be.”
Mr Gibbon added that Greta Thunberg was right when she expressed scepticism about COP26’s potential to deliver the change needed to cap global temperatures at 1.5C of warming:
“We need to do better. We have got to hold global temperatures below 1.5C - the very best we’ve got from COP26 is maybe 1.9, maybe 2C. That’s too much. It’s too dangerous.
“So in that sense Greta Thunberg is entirely correct. But the COP mechanism is an intergovernmental mechanism and it’s the best we have.
“So we the citizens have got to urge our governments to stand up to vested interests and make this thing work for all our futures.”
Earlier in the week Taoiseach Micheál Martin told COP26 that “Ireland is ready to play its part” in the fight against climate change, adding:
“It will not be economically sustainable to carry on the way we are carrying on, either nationally or globally.”
Main image: Minister Eamon Ryan speaking to media outside Dublin Castle. Picture by: Leah Farrell / RollingNews.ie