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Demonstrators in Dublin today.
Earth Day

Extinction Rebellion stages 'slow cycle' in Dublin city calling for action on biodiversity loss

Separately, an Irish member of controversial anti-fossil fuel group Just Stop Oil has defended the group’s actions.

EXTINCTION REBELLION IRELAND held a ‘slow cycle’ through Dublin City today, marking Earth Day and calling for the government action on biodiversity loss.

Demonstrators gathered at the Garden of Remembrance this morning and made their way to Stephen’s Green where speeches were held. There were representatives from XR, as well as non-governmental organisations, environmental groups and members of the public.

Along the way, XR said that demonstrators let off a number of colourful smoke bombs and music was played.

The demonstration marked Earth Day, an annual event held each year since 1970 to raise awareness and support environmental protection. Demonstrators called for measures to protect Ireland’s biodiversity and plant and animal life.

In particular there were calls for the Government to implement the recommendations of the the recent Citizen’s Assembly report into biodiversity loss in Ireland, published earlier this month.

Over 150 recommendations for action were put forward in the report. These include:

  • Holding a referendum to amend the Constitution to protect biodiversity.
  • A new national strategy for the protection, maintenance, restoration and expansion of Ireland’s network of hedgerows.
  • Reducing the use of pesticides in public and private by at least 50%.
  • An immediate timeline on the phasing out, and eventual ban, of the sale of invasive plant species.

Commenting today, Leslie Marce of XRI said that the protection of biodiversity was “the future of humanity”.

“Unless urgently stopped, the destruction of ecosystems due to climate change, pollution and land use changes will lead to severe consequences, including on human health, but also on food and water supply,” she said.

Just Stop Oil

Separately, an Irish member of controversial anti-fossil fuel group Just Stop Oil has defended the group’s actions.

The group has garnered a lot of attention and caused controversy in recent months for a series of direct actions. These included pouring soup over a Vincent van Gogh painting, scaling bridges and bringing traffic in London to a standstill.

This week, two protestors were arrested after they disrupted the World Snooker Championship on Monday, with one throwing orange powder on the table at the Crucible Theatre. Yesterday a different two protestors were jailed for scaling a bridge in England on the Dartford Crossing last year.

Speaking on Saturday with Colm Ó Mongáin on RTÉ Radio One, Amy Rose Friel O’Donnell said she has been involved in a number of actions with the group, including disrupting sections of the M25 motorway in England, causing them to be shut down last November.

Friel O’Donnell said she was due to appear in court over this action. Questioned whether she was worried about the effect her actions may have on her future and whether they were worth it, she said:

“It’s not really a question of a price worth paying. 

“I have made a very clear decision in my head that there’s only really two directions this is going to go.

Either we win this fight against the climate crisis. Amazing I am proud of what I done, I regret nothing. Or we lose this fight and we are dead. And I will lose everything I will and I will lose my home. 

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