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Dublin: 10 °C Thursday 17 October, 2019
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Ireland just became the second country to declare a climate emergency after a 'strange' Dáil vote

Climate activist Greta Thunberg described tonight’s move as “great news”.

Climate action demonstration in Dublin in March
Climate action demonstration in Dublin in March
Image: RollingNews.ie

IRELAND HAS BECOME the second country in the world to declare a climate and biodiversity emergency this evening. 

The move comes after a Fianna Fáil amendment to the Oireachtas report on Climate Change was accepted by both sides of the Oireachtas without a vote. 

Earlier this week, the Green Party moved a Dáil motion to declare a climate emergency after the UK did the same earlier this month. 

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said tonight’s declaration came under somewhat “unusual circumstances” after he moved the Fianna Fáil motion in the Dáil without any of the party’s TDs being present in the chamber. 

Ryan added that “it will be of little meaning unless we are now willing to act on the recommendations of the Committee.”

Commenting on tonight’s vote – for which less than 10 TDs were present – Ryan said: “It was strange. I moved the Fianna Fáil amendment and the motion as amended was agreed, without anyone calling a vote in opposition to it.”

“Still glad it was agreed,” he said. “Time for climate action now.”

Deputy Green Party leader Catherine Martin TD has said “the Government has to act now and take concrete steps to change course on climate. Ireland is going to miss its climate targets and this will have devastating impacts for our environment, our planet and our children.”

Meanwhile, Fine Gael TD Hildegarde Naughton, who heads up the Climate Action Committee, tweeted following tonight’s vote: “We now have cross party support in declaring a climate and biodiversity emergency.”

“Action now needed,” she said. 

The move comes following Extinction Rebellion climate change protest in London last month and a landmark UN report earlier this week which concluded that nature is at more risk now than at any other time in human history with over one million animal and plant species in danger of extinction.

Ireland’s attempts to tackle climate change have made headlines repeatedly in recent months. 

Ireland’s performance in taking action against climate change was ranked the worst in Europe in a report published in December

The Climate Change Performance Index ranked Ireland 48th out of 56 countries, with a score of 40.84, far below the EU average of 60.65.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has previously described Ireland as a “laggard” on the issue as it will miss emission reduction targets and faces significant EU fines. 

Reacting to tonight’s vote, 16-year-old climate change activist Greta Thunberg welcomed Ireland’s climate emergency declaration. 

She tweeted: “Great news from Ireland!! Who is next? 

“And remember: #ClimateEmergency means leaving fossil fuels in the ground.” 

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