Wednesday 17 July 2019

Thousands of school children strike for climate change

Thousands of Dublin students march from St Stephens green to Leinster House today, joining a global protest for action to tackle climate change, which sees public gatherings staged at more than 37 locations across Ireland. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Thousands of Dublin students march from St Stephens green to Leinster House today, joining a global protest for action to tackle climate change, which sees public gatherings staged at more than 37 locations across Ireland. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Sorcha O'Connor

Sorcha O'Connor

Thousands have turned out for the #schoolstrike4climate protest outside Leinster House this afternoon, with school children making up the majority of the crowd.

Gathering at noon at St Stephen’s Green, the protest of roughly 8,000 made its way to Molesworth Street where a stage had been set up for speeches from a number of teenage activists. 

Thousands of Dublin students march from St Stephens green to Leinster House today, joining a global protest for action to tackle climate change, which sees public gatherings staged at more than 37 locations across Ireland. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Thousands of Dublin students march from St Stephens green to Leinster House today, joining a global protest for action to tackle climate change, which sees public gatherings staged at more than 37 locations across Ireland. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

They were calling for the government to increase its action on climate change, with the disuse of fossil fuels a priority for many in the crowd. 

The movement today was part of a global initiative calling for action to end climate change, inspired by the school strikes by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg. 

Thousands of Dublin students march from St Stephens green to Leinster House today, joining a global protest for action to tackle climate change, which sees public gatherings staged at more than 37 locations across Ireland. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Thousands of Dublin students march from St Stephens green to Leinster House today, joining a global protest for action to tackle climate change, which sees public gatherings staged at more than 37 locations across Ireland. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

The event was being MC’d by Mollie Mercier-Redmond, a second-year student from North Wicklow Educate Together Secondary School, while among speakers was Salim Kajani, a third year student from St Michael’s in Dublin.

“I was sickened looking at statistics – only 7pc of our energy for transport comes from renewable resources. Knowing what is going on with climate change, it is ridiculous that this government seem to be doing basically nothing compared to what we could be doing,” said Salim. 

Thousands of Dublin students march from St Stephens green to Leinster House today, joining a global protest for action to tackle climate change, which sees public gatherings staged at more than 37 locations across Ireland. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Thousands of Dublin students march from St Stephens green to Leinster House today, joining a global protest for action to tackle climate change, which sees public gatherings staged at more than 37 locations across Ireland. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Speaking to Independent.ie, the Junior Cert pupil also expressed his anger that Geography is no longer a compulsory subject for second-level students in the junior cycle. 

“One of the big things is the fact that Geography was removed from the Junior cycle syllabus as a compulsory subject. It covers so many things, not only climate change but population and acid rain,” he said.

As for the importance of today's protest he said:  

“You do have homelessness, lack of hospital beds, and Brexit, but this is one of the biggest issues and we need to focus on that."

In the UK, students have walked out of lessons and lectures across the UK to protest against the "inaction" of politicians over climate change.

The school strikes are part of a global day of action which has seen young people take to the streets from New Zealand to Europe as part of an expected 2,000 events in more than 120 countries.

Youngsters have staged events in 100 British towns and cities including London, Edinburgh, Canterbury, Oxford and Cambridge calling for urgent action to tackle climate change, cut emissions and switch to renewable energy.

In central London, one student climbed very close to the top of the 25-metre high Queen Victoria Memorial in front of Buckingham Palace, which appears to have prompted the Metropolitan Police to urge people not to climb statues.

United Nations climate chief Patricia Espinosa said young people around the world were sending a clear message "that nations must significantly increase their efforts to address climate change".

With reporting from Press Association

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