Government urged to take climate action after thousands of young people protest
Green Party and Fianna Fáil describe children’s protests as ‘moving’ and ‘inspirational’
Students at the global climate change strike in Dublin’s Merrion Square on Friday. Photograph: Aidan Crawley
The Government can no longer ignore or delay action on climate change following Friday’s protests by thousands of young people throughout Ireland, Opposition parties have said.
Catherine Martin, deputy leader of the Green Party, said the protests were “completely inspirational and moving” and made palpable the sense of urgency for the survival of the planet.
“What was so moving was that all ages were out. It was the youth leading all of us.
“It is very evident that everyone has now tapped into the urgency.
“The youth has started it but everybody has come on board,” she said. She said the Government was still “doing double-speak on climate change, saying all the right things but not acting on it”.
Fianna Fáil climate action spokesman Timmy Dooley also said the Government could no longer ignore the need for action.
“We need to take inspiration from the young people out demonstrating today – it’s their generation and the generations after that will be impacted most by the Government’s failure to respond to the climate change crisis.
“Instead of berating them for taking a day off school, we should be listening to their message and ideas,” he said.
Minister for Communications and Climate Action Richard Bruton said he agreed with the sentiments of the young people who protested. He has travelled to New York this weekend to attend the United Nations convention on climate change.
“Climate disruption is the biggest challenge facing the planet. We must work together and be ambitious now, while we still have the chance.
“This is Ireland’s first opportunity to bring the Climate Action Plan to a global stage. I am looking forward to hearing feedback on the plan and understanding what is working in other countries that we could incorporate into future iterations,” he said.
David Cullinane of Sinn Féin said the protests had sent a very clear signal to our Ministers in Government that younger generations have decided to make their voices heard.
“As future voting citizens, they have every right to inform Government about what direction they want to see policy moving,” he said.
Labour’s Sean Sherlock called for radical action. “We support the strike for change and we need all generations to show their support. Young people across Ireland have let the Government know they want to see action on climate. It’s not enough for the Minister to say he is listening, he needs to take real action now,” he said.
Bríd Smith of People Before Profit said the Government should be very nervous as young people of the nation had given a “meaningful message” to keep fossil fuels in the ground.
She said the Government had to be dragged to do the small things.
Paul Murphy of Solidarity said all the indications were there that it was to be the biggest global day in history on any issue.
“It will serve to increase political pressure on the Irish Government and governments around the world to do what science tells us is necessary,” he said.