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Dublin: 13 °C Monday 27 May, 2019
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'This is an emergency': Extinction Rebellion comes to Dublin as sit-down protest blocks O'Connell Street

The movement was formed late last year and has grown rapidly.

protest 785_90569322 Source: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

PROTESTERS CALLING FOR more action on climate change blocked O’Connell Street bridge in Dublin city centre earlier today.

It’s the first significant protest in Ireland as part of the Extinction Rebellion movement, which has repeatedly brought London in the United Kingdom to a standstill in recent days, leading to hundreds of arrests.

The movement was formed late last year and has grown rapidly.

This afternoon’s protest in Dublin gathered at the GPO and conducted a slow walk to O’Connell Street bridge, where protesters sat down and blocked traffic.

climate 703_90569325 Source: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

Dublin Bus services are currently unable to serve parts of O’Connell Street due to the protest.

One protester, Anna Bishop from Co Wicklow, said she hopes the demonstration will stop the government “faffing about” on climate change.

“This is an emergency,” she told TheJournal.ie.

It’s probably one of the most important things for us to get angry about.

Anna Anna Bishop from Co Wicklow. Source: Cormac Fitzgerald/TheJournal.ie

“This is the first major [Extinction Rebellion] protest in Ireland so hopefully it will just build from here. It’s a really nice, relaxed atmosphere here.”

“I hope people stay for a long longer.”

Also attending the protest today was Ciarán Cuffe, a Green Party councillor who is now running in the European elections.

Cuffe Source: Cormac Fitzgerald/TheJournal.ie

He described the mix of young and old at the protest as “heartening”.

“I think that’s important for a movement such as this,” Cuffe said, “and I think if it pushes the mainstream parties into further action than that can only be a good thing, so today is a good day.”

There’s a lot of passion here, there’s a lot of conviction, and there’s a lot of knowledge.
I think [this type of protest] puts pressure on Leo Varadkar, on Richard Bruton, and on others to move beyond words, move beyond bird boxes and platitudes to setting carbon target and sticking to them.

Cuffe added that Ireland is already “getting a fail grade” when it comes to action on environmental issue.

Responding to recent questions on climate change policy, Minister for Communications, Climate Action, and Environment Richard Bruton said action is being taken by government on climate change:

I am currently preparing an All of Government Climate Plan which will set out the actions which must be taken to make Ireland a leader in responding to climate change. I am working with colleagues across Government to develop new initiatives across electricity, transport, heat, and agriculture, as well as a range of other sectors.

“It will also be informed by successful approaches in other countries, where such approaches could be adapted for implementation in Ireland, and by the recently published report of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action.”

The climate change pressure group has become a household name in Britain this week amid protests that have brought key parts of London to a standstill and seen hundreds arrested. 

The organisation, formed by academics in Britain last year alongside off-shoots in dozens of other countries, vows an unrelenting tide of protest until governments act more forcefully over climate change.

It wants Britain to declare a climate and ecological emergency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2025, halt biodiversity loss and be led by “citizens’ assemblies on climate and ecological justice”.

With reporting by AFP and from the scene by Cormac Fitzgerald

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Nicky Ryan

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