A protest outside Leinster House on Tuesday has called on politicians to act immediately to reverse biodiversity loss and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2030.
The Extinction Rebellion movement staged the protest aimed at highlighting what they believe to be “laughable Government inaction” on the climate emergency.
The protest movement said the demand was based on stark warnings by international scientists, that unless the necessary changes are made to society within the next 12 years, a mass extinction, biodiversity collapse and climate disaster will be irreversible (IPCC 2018).
The protest was timed to support the Climate Emergency Measures Bill brought before the Dáil by TD Bríd Smith.
The Bill seeks to amend the Petroleum and Other Minerals Development Act to limit the issuing of new licences for the exploration and extraction of fossil fuels in Ireland.
It was due to proceed to Committee Stage on Tuesday but the Government said it needed a 'money message' which would require Government support in order for it to pass.
According to Extinction Rebellion, the attachment of the money message “is just the latest piece of procedural trickery used by the Government to block a piece of legislation that was voted for by a majority of our elected representatives”.
The protest saw activists dressed in white overalls to represent ‘innocent children’ positioned in front of the Dáil gates, holding red flowers.
Another group, dressed up to represent ‘politicians’ then poured a red sugary syrup representing blood over them to symbolise the violent fate facing many children growing up in Ireland today unless radical action is taken by the government.
After that members of Extinction Rebellion, dressed in green overalls, arrived with brushes and buckets and water to clean up the ‘blood’, representing the ‘greenwashing’ of the climate and biodiversity crisis done by the government and state agencies.
Leading Extinction Rebellion activist Sue Breen was dressed as one of the politicians and had "blood" on her hands.
She angrily denounced the Government’s declaration of a climate emergency last month as “laughable” and the “ultimate hypocrisy” and pointed to its failure to take any real action on the climate crisis and said the movement would continue to grow as the year progressed.
Green Party leader Eamon Ryan, who attended the protest said we are in the middle of a crisis.
“And it is one which does threaten extinction and this sort of grass roots protest can help to change public consciousness about the issue,” he said.
He suggested the mood of the Irish people had shifted and said his party’s recent success in the Local and European elections had focussed minds in Dáil Éireann and politicians were viewing it “as a reflection of a public statement that they want more to be done on the environment”.