Monday 16 September 2019

Calls for Government to show leadership on environment

Sophie Pettus and Sarah Kinnen taking part in the climate march in Galway yesterday
Sophie Pettus and Sarah Kinnen taking part in the climate march in Galway yesterday

Ciara Treacy

Hundreds of people took to the streets around Ireland yesterday to call for action on climate change in advance of the summit in Paris.

Ireland was one of 70 countries to stage events, with rallies taking place in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Belfast. The march in Dublin was led by Stop Climate Chaos, a coalition of organisations calling for an "energy revolution", ahead of talks among world leaders.

"People are marching because we don't trust our leaders to lead," said Oisin Coghlan, director of Friends of the Earth.

"Taoiseach Enda Kenny will be among the 150 world leaders meeting in Paris and he should be in no doubt that Ireland is mobilising for an energy revolution, one that leaves behind dirty fossil fuels and embraces clean, renewable, community-owned energy."

Other groups have called on the Government to help secure an agreement that will address climate issues.

Speaking from Paris, executive director of Trócaire Eamonn Meehan asked the Taoiseach to show leadership when addressing the summit.

"Climate change is not just an environmental issue, it is an issue of justice and equality. We urgently need a legally-binding agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and we also need to ensure that this agreement is rooted in human rights and protecting vulnerable people's access to land and water," Mr Meehan said.

In U2's former school, Mount Temple Comprehensive in Dublin, students have been inspired by the band's advocacy to release their own appeal for change. With help from human rights group Afri, students have released a video message directed at those attending the summit.

"We need world leaders to open their eyes to the devastating effects of climate change," student Keziah Keenan O'Shea (16) said. "They have a responsibility to leave our world habitable for future generations."

Irish Independent

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