Monday 21 October 2019

Fiona Dillon: 'It's a pivotal moment for humankind, say climate protesters'

Call to action: Extinction Rebellion protesters outside Government Buildings in Dublin yesterday. Photos: Gerry Mooney
Call to action: Extinction Rebellion protesters outside Government Buildings in Dublin yesterday. Photos: Gerry Mooney
Call to action: Extinction Rebellion protesters outside Government Buildings in Dublin yesterday. Photos: Gerry Mooney
Fiona Dillon

Fiona Dillon

While temperatures may be dropping at night for climate activists camping out in Dublin, they insist a growing number are expected to arrive over the coming days to turn the heat up on the Government.

Yesterday marked day two of Extinction Rebellion Ireland's week-long camp-out in a section of Merrion Square South, as part of an international 'Rebellion Week'.

Those involved in the group span in age from young to the elderly, and they have come from all over the country.

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Julianne Flynn, from Drumcondra in Dublin, said: "It's going really well, there is a lot of solidarity in the campsite. There is a wonderful atmosphere."

She said about 70 more people arrived yesterday, and "we are expecting more to arrive throughout the week".

"People are dropping off some food. A lot of small business owners are supporting us. We are getting a lot of support actually from people throughout the city," she told the Irish Independent.

She explained why she got involved, saying: "Our future is on the line. Climate change isn't something in a distant future, it's happening now.

"For me this is an essential issue because we don't have time. Time isn't on our hands.

"That is our message. Listen to the science," she said.

She works in communications but said she had taken leave to take part.

"There is a lot of personal sacrifice that I don't think people realise.

"This has all been put together on a shoe-string budget," she said.

"The amount of work that has gone into this has just been incredible from people just being so generous and caring so much."

She described Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist, as "incredible", and added: "There are a lot of schoolkids who are doing the same thing, if only the adults would just listen to them. As she says, 'change is coming whether you like it or not'.

"I think the diversity of this movement is so interesting as well. You have people from all different walks of life, but also from the different political spectrums too, and we are all working together because we are so passionate in this issue," she said.

Also camping out for the week is Leontien Friel Darrell, from Cloughjordan, Co Tipperary, who said: "Last night was a beautiful festival of community. It was cold, but that's not going to stop us."

She said she took leave from work to take part, saying: "I think this is a pivotal point in human history. There already was a community, but it is building and building."

She said "a huge number" of the public have been very supportive. "People are beginning to realise that this is the issue of our generation. There is no greater issue. It affects everyone."

Meanwhile, Antoinette Hensey was visiting Dublin from her home beside New Quay, Co Clare, for this week, and is staying with relatives.

"I am part of a group that has formed in Kinvara, Co Galway, we have an Extinction Rebellion group just recently down there.

"I feel very strongly about it, like everybody else here, that something has to be done. I have got grandchildren."

Horticulture student Claire Lyons, from Churchtown, Dublin, said she is 39 now, but has been interested in the environment since she was five years old.

She said that there are a lot of actions that individuals can do, which is very important. "Unfortunately we still have single-use plastic being produced," she said.

Last night, the group held a 'Just Transition' march at the Garden of Remembrance in the city centre.

Earlier in the day, they launched a 'Budget for Climate Action' outside Government Buildings before marching to the Dáil.

Irish Independent

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