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Youth Assembly presents minister with recommendations on climate change after Dáil debate

More than 150 young people between the ages of 10 and 17 discussed climate issues facing Ireland in the Dáil yesterday.

RTÉ Youth Assembly 006 Salim Kajani from Sandymount and Saoi O’Connor from Skibbereen present Minister Bruton with the recommendations Source: Andres Poveda

THE GOVERNMENT MUST stop patronising young people and take action on their concerns about climate change, a TD has said.

The Dáil hosted its first ever Youth Assembly yesterday, focusing on climate change.

More than 150 young people between the ages of 10 and 17 discussed climate issues facing Ireland.

After a morning of deliberations, the youth delegates delivered 10 recommendations in the Dáil chamber, which addressed energy, business, agriculture, education, environment, law and taxation.

The RTÉ Youth Assembly on Climate called on adults and elected representatives to take action on their recommendations on climate change.

“We, the youth of Ireland, call on our elected representatives and on adults to listen. We put forward our recommendations for action to stop climate breakdown. We are not experts. In our recommendations we offer ideas, but we do not have answers,” the said in a statement.

The delegates made a list of recommendations including a ban on fracked gas, measures to allow Irish goods to be sustainable and affordable and a labelling and pricing system showing the climate impact of food products.

These recommendations were then presented to Minister for Climate Action Richard Bruton.

Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl said the young people had developed “real proposals” that can “make a difference to Ireland’s response to climate”. 

“The solution-based approach of our young people and the pragmatic manner in which they communicated their knowledge of the climate challenges we face gives me great hope for the future,” he added.

Fianna Fail spokesman for climate action and environment Jack Chambers TD called on the government to respond to each of the proposals and show how they can be taken forward.

“The youth delegates made hugely powerful and perceptive statements which should be required reading for government. They correctly pointed out that the very holding of the Assembly on climate change is indicative of the government’s disgraceful response to climate and biodiversity,” he said.

“Now, this government must not patronise young people as they did at the recent protests when they merely congratulated the children for their ‘inspiring’ action.

The government must not tell them that they will simply listen to their concerns, and merely applaud the Assembly as a symbolic moment. The efforts of the Youth Assembly now merit a constructive and transparent government response.

“It is essential that ministers respond to each of the Youth Assembly’s recommendations and clarify how they will be integrated into government climate action plans and reporting, across energy, transport, agriculture and housing.”

With reporting from Sean Murray

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