President Higgins pays tribute after death of environmentalist Michael Ewing

Mr Ewing’s work with environmental NGOs ‘was crucial in advocating for the urgent need to tackle the climate crisis and continues to be of enormous importance’

President Michael D Higgins has paid tribute to the environmentalist Michael Ewing, who has died.

Mr Ewing from Boyle, Co Roscommon, died on Tuesday at the North West Hospice in Sligo after a long illness.

President Higgins said he learned of Mr Ewing’s death with “great sorrow”.

He praised his work in the Irish Environmental Network which brought together 32 national environmental non-governmental organisations.


In 2009, Mr Ewing coordinated the establishment of the Environmental Pillar, which was to become the fifth national social partnership pillar, alongside Employers, Trade Unions, Farmers and the Community and Voluntary sector.

“This cooperation and leadership among NGOs was crucial in advocating for the urgent need to tackle the climate crisis and continues to be of enormous importance,” the President stated.

“As a trained biologist and environmental protection officer, Michael combined his expertise with a strong personal interest in participatory democracy, global justice and sustainable development.

“All those who knew him and worked and campaigned with him will be proud of the legacy he leaves behind in assisting to shape tangible responses to care for our shared planet.”

The Minister for the Environment and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan described Mr Ewing as a friend, and said he had played a leading role in promoting participative democracy in Ireland.

In a post on X, the Green Party leader described Mr Ewing as a “giant of the Irish environmental movement in many influential roles. As the chair of our own policy council he was a leader and support to countless Green Party members”.

Mr Ewing received a B Tech (Hons) from Brunel University in Applied Biology and an MSc from IT Sligo in environmental protection. Later he trained with the Environment Council (UK) and then worked as a facilitator and dialogue planner.

From 2006-2008, he worked as the senior researcher at the Centre for Sustainability at the IT Sligo. In 2008 he was employed by the Irish Environmental Network (IEN) to build the advocacy coalition.

He is survived by his wife Marion, his children Emma, Daniel and Oisin. His funeral takes place at Lakelands Crematorium in Cavan on Friday afternoon at 2pm.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times