Thursday 17 October 2019

Donabate students 'strike' on climate change issues

Deputy Darragh O’Brien TD listens to the points made by Donabate/Portrane ETNS on climate change
Deputy Darragh O’Brien TD listens to the points made by Donabate/Portrane ETNS on climate change

The eco-conscious sixth class students of Donabate/Portrane Educate Together NS mobilised themselves into action recently when they held a one day 'strike action' outside Dail Eireann in protest against the government's inaction on climate change.

Sixty students wrote to school principal Maeve Corish to inform her they would not attend school on Wednesday February 13, and would instead be protesting outside the Dail for policy change on the issue.

What began as a protest held by the sixth class pupils soon grew to a crowd of over 400 students, as other schools contacted by teachers Jenny Stanley and Amy Lawlor joined force, attracting the attention of the national media, RTE and a number of leading politicians.

Speaking after the protest, Ms Stanley explained the reasons for the strike action: 'We did a lesson on a Swedish girl who went on strike from school over climate change, and had a debate on whether Irish students should go on strike too.

'So the students wrote a letter to the principal informing her that they wouldn't be coming into school on February 13, that they were going to go on strike outside the Dail instead.

'The students felt that not enough is being done on climate change, and also the fact that it's going to be their futures which are going to be impacted on the most. They're worried, but they're also quite annoyed that it's not being acted on by Government.'

Local TDs Darragh O'Brien, Louise O'Reilly, Brenda Ryan and Clary Daly were all present on the day to hear the students' concerns, with the sixth class pupils securing a motion to be brought forward in the Dail.

Darragh O'Brien and Clare Daly TDs also organised for the children to give a presentation in late April or early May in the Dail, so that a platform would be given to allow them to air their views,

Ms Stanley said: 'The school is extremely proud of them.

'We're very proud that they're not just learning about climate change, but that they're putting what they know into practice. So they've now become active global citizens having had their voices heard.'

Fingal Independent