Saturday 21 September 2019

Hundreds of activists gather for Extinction Rebellion protests in Dublin's city centre today

Sorcha O'Connor

Sorcha O'Connor

Hundreds of environmental activists gathered in front of the Spire today as part of the Extinction Rebellion protests against climate change yesterday.

Traffic was diverted away from O’Connell bridge by gardai as protesters made their way from the GPO to O’Connell bridge where they took part in a sit-down protest. 

Following a week of climate protests in London, where there was some unrest, there was a peaceful atmosphere among those who turned out in the sunny weather to support the cause.

There was mixture of young and old at the event, all concerned over the impact of climate change on the planet. Sue Breen of Extinction Rebellion said that while protesters hoped to see moves from the government to support their action, she didn’t expect it today. 

“Unfortunately, we don’t expect it to happen today, but whatever happens today the campaign will continue with great gusto,” she said.     

She made a powerful speech in front of those gathered yesterday, 

“We are here to tell the truth and to ask the government to tell the truth. And the truth is that this is an emergency. The truth is that there are wild fires burning in the arctic, the truth is that we are destroying 18 million acres of forest per year – that is the equivalent of the size of Panama. 

“We are not here to cause trouble or disrupt your day. We are here because the governments and corporations are handing a death sentence to our children and we refuse to be complicit. We will not stay silent.

“The system is not just broken, it is malignant, and it has poisoned every river, every stream, and has caused dioxins to be present in every mother’s breast milk and toxins to be in every breath we take.” 

There were also performances of song, written-word, and rap, as well as a stilt walker and dancers among the crowds. 

Some protesters had travelled to the city to support the movement, with mum Majella O'Connor (43) accompanying her 11-year-old daughter Eva to the event from Tipperary. 

"We came all the way from Tipperary. If we don't stand up what chance have these guys got?" she said of her daughter's generation. 

Liz Barry from Donaghmede, Dublin attended the event for the sake of her grandchildren. She said in the past, Ireland was better at re-using packaging, with less plastic in use too. 

“When we were young you got chips in newspapers and you got your milk bottles, very little plastic, you bought your fruit loose, your cheese loose, your vegetables loose. Now everything is prepacked and it is killing the environment,” said the 73-year-old. 

Meanwhile Sarah Pace and Paul Gaffney, who live in Wicklow, were expecting their first child together in June and feel they need to protest to ensure the health of their future family. 

“It is about our survival so it is great to see everyone getting engaged and being a part of that,” said Sarah (36). 

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