Climate change protest to disrupt ‘business as usual’ on O'Connell Street today

Demonstrations around the world demand governments take action on climate change

Climate change activists sit on Waterloo Bridge in an environmental protest by Extinction Rebellion, in London. Photograph: Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images

Climate change activists sit on Waterloo Bridge in an environmental protest by Extinction Rebellion, in London. Photograph: Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images

 

A climate change protest will disrupt “business as usual” in Dublin city centre on Friday.

Extinction Rebellion Ireland is to gather at the Spire on O’Connell Street in Dublin at 1pm in solidarity with climate protests around the globe.

The biggest protests have taken place in London. They have caused major disruption over successive days and led to the arrest of hundreds of people.

Extinction Rebellion groups in 43 countries are participating in various forms of protest this week to highlight the threat of climate change facing the world.

They aim to force governments to agree to certain demands and “to tell the truth about the climate and ecological emergency, and enact the necessary measures to address it”.

The group is to gather at the Spire on O’Connell Street in Dublin at 1pm to demand that the Government takes urgent action. After speeches they will “slow walk to O’Connell Bridge” and remain there until their demands are met or they are forcibly removed, its spokesman Dr Ciarán O’Carroll said.

“We represent a huge number of concerned citizens: scientists, academics, politicians, teachers, lawyers, students, children, parents, and grandparents,” said Dr O’Carroll, who was arrested during the London protests and released pending further investigation.

The group’s actions would be non-violent but disruptive, he confirmed.

“We have no choice. We have tried marching, and lobbying, and signing petitions. Nothing has brought about the change that is needed. And no damage that we incur can compare to the criminal inaction of the Irish Government in the face of climate and ecological breakdown.”

Among actions elsewhere have been the occupation of various public spaces and the blockading of bridges, roads, harbours and transit systems including some protesters gluing themselves to trains and locking themselves to railings.

Dr O’Carroll said “peacefully shutting down capitals and other cities, disrupting business as usual and grinding economies to a standstill” was necessary to force governments to respond.

Demands differ between countries but at their core is enacting policies to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2030 and drastically reduce our consumption of the world’s resources.

In Ireland’s case, he said, it was against a background of the country missing legally-binding targets on reducing carbon and adopting renewable energy targets for 2020. This was a response to annual rankings which put the Republic at the bottom of the EU table on decarbonisation.

Dr O’Carroll said the Environmental Protection Agency has warned that Ireland’s “emissions are set to keep rising for years to come without urgent action.

“If even a small part of you is sitting at home wondering what to do about the climate and ecological emergency, this is what we need to do. This is the best shot we have, we can’t get a new planet,” he said.