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Dublin: 10 °C Thursday 17 October, 2019

Thousands of students set to lead third country-wide climate strike

The strike is part of a global day of action to call on governments to do more to combat climate change.

Students taking march in a climate strike in March.
Students taking march in a climate strike in March.
Image: Sam Boal/

THOUSANDS OF STUDENTS will today take part in strikes across the country to demand more action from the government today on climate change. 

Inspired by activist Greta Thunberg, students from schools and colleges across Ireland will take to the streets to demand action on climate change. 

This is the third climate strike in several months, after similar action in March and May. Green issues have been pushed to the forefront of political conversation in Ireland in the last year, inspired in part by the work of Thunberg. 

In May, the Green Party benefited from a surge in support in the local and European elections.  The strike is being organised by the Schools’ Climate Action Network, Fridays for Future Ireland and School Strikes 4 Climate Ireland. 

Mira Henchi, a student in Cork Educate Together Secondary School, said climate change was an “inter-generational issue”. 

“We’re all in this together, young and old,” she said. 

Molly Mercier Redmond, a student from North Wicklow Educate Together Secondary School, accused the government of not delivering on climate action.  “The government must put the climate breakdown at the forefront of all decisions.

We need everyone to join us,” she said.  In a statement today, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton said that he had “heard the voices of those protesting today”.

Bruton is travelling to New York today ahead of a meeting of a key UN summit on Monday on climate change. He will also attend a youth climate action summit on Saturday led by Thunberg. 

“They have a message for governments but also for every sector of society. Now is the time to take action and protect their future,” he added. 

0587 Children Climate protest_90566535 The government has faced repeated criticism for not doing enough to tackle climate change. Source: Leah Farrell/

While the majority of schools and colleges are expected to take part in the strike, support is not unanimous. The Irish Times reported yesterday that Blackrock College in Dublin had told parents to ensure that their sons did not take part in the demonstration. 

In Dublin, students will gather at Custom House Quay at 12pm before marching to Merrion Square, beside government buildings. 

In Cork, people will gather at the City Library and march along Patricks Street, Parnell Place and South Mall. In advance of the strike, action has been taken place across the country.

In Leitrim, a team of volunteers from a local secondary school erected a heart-shaped light installation near Manorhamilton to mark today’s rally. 

The strike today is part of a global movement calling for urgent action to address climate change. Organisers say that demonstrations will take place in 156 countries around the world in the coming days. 

Yesterday, the High Court ruled against a group of activists who argued that the government’s climate change plan was in violation of obligations under the Constitution, the European Convention on Human Rights and under Ireland’s Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2017. 

On Wednesday, Thunberg told the US Congress to do more to tackle climate change. “I don’t want you to listen to me, I want you to listen to the scientists,” she told a hearing of two committees. 

Among those supporting the climate strike are trade unions, charities and the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference. 

Patricia King, the general secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, said that the demonstration was about young people “demanding that their governments recognise the urgency and severity of the climate crisis and take appropriate action”. 

Organisers say smaller demonstrations have also been organised in 50 other towns and cities across the country, including Waterford, Drogheda and Galway. 

Speaking yesterday, Green Party MEP Grace O’Sullivan described it as a “call out from young climate and environment activists to all people, all around the globe”. 

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