Activists stage sit-in at Department of Climate Action

Published by Niall Sargent on

December 7th, 2018

Activists staged a sit-in at the offices of the Department of Climate Action (DCCAE) this afternoon to demand greater Government action on climate change.

The cross-party and grassroots environmental activist group, Climate Friends Ireland, staged the sit-in following a climate protest outside of the Dail earlier this afternoon.

During the DCCAE takeover, the group presented the Secretary General of the Department, Mark Griffin, with a list of over 20 demands on where it wants to see Government action.

The activists called on the Department to ensure the passage of three climate-related Bills currently before the Oireachtas that they say have been held up to date largely as a result of Government opposition.

The Bills include the Climate Emergency Measures Bill brought by People Before Profit’s Bríd Smith that would ban the issuing of any further oil or gas exploration licenses by the State.

The multi-party activist group also wants to see Government support for Sinn Fein’s Microgeneration Support Scheme Bill and the Green Party’s Waste Reduction Bill.

The activists told Mr Griffin that the Bills should just be the start of a “major shift” in policy and called on his Department to ensure that the Government’s future policy framework is “climate-proof”.

The groups listed several other demands including the funding of “proper cycling infrastructure” and a ban on the stationing of any liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals along the Irish coast.

Sinead Mercier, a Green Party researcher who joined the activists today, said it was “unfortunate” that it takes direct action to “draw attention to such an important issue”.

“We are glad to have drawn attention to the doublespeak of this Government who repeat commitments to a climate ‘revolution’, while refusing to take any responsible action to prevent and reverse the effects of climate change,” she said.

Eoghan O’Ceannabhain, who was also at the sit-in, said that the groups of young activists are just getting started in their efforts to “fight for real climate justice” and highlight the “Government’s climate inaction”.

“This is the defining issue of our generation and the next. There are no jobs, no homes, no future on a dead planet,” he said.

The Green Party leader Eamon Ryan TD, who spoke at the demonstration outside the Dail earlier in the day, said that the “something is changing” in the public mindset around climate change as “the reality of it seems to be coming home”.

“The tide of public perception is turning and we have to rise with it,” he said.

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Niall Sargent

Niall is the Editor of The Green News. He is a multimedia journalist, with an MA in Investigative Journalism from City University, London