Environmentalists hail green wave sweeping Ireland

Published by Niall Sargent on

May 25th, 2019

The green wave across European and local elections is a clear signal that Irish people want urgent action to tackle the climate and biodiversity crises, Ireland’s largest environmental coalition has said.

The Environmental Pillar said today that it was a heartening experience for its member organisations to see the Irish people vote en masse for biodiversity and climate.

The stand-out performance of the Green Party and projected high return of candidates in the local election is a clear sign of the shifting public position on the two most pressing issues of our generation, the coalition said.

If the predictions of the RTE exit poll for the European Elections also hold firm then Councillor Ciaran Cuffe looks set to top the poll in Dublin for almost a quarter of the vote.

This would be a major departure from previous polls that also placed his party colleagues Grace O’Sullivan and Saoirse McHugh well out of contention in the South and Midlands-North-West races.

Both, however, are in contention for a seat in their constituencies according to the poll results even when the four per cent margin of error is accounted for.

The Green Party are also look set to be the big winners in the local elections, with the early tallies suggesting that the party could take in up to 10 per cent of the vote.

The surge in support, the Pillar said, is clearly fuelled by people’s shock at the fact that one million plant and animal species are now threatened with extinction as we run out of time to tackle our runaway emissions.

Michael Ewing Photo: Niall Sargent
Michael Ewing Photo: Niall Sargent

Public ‘crying out’ for action

Michael Ewing, Coordinator of the Environmental Pillar, said that citizens are “clearly crying out” for a future both at home and in Europe that “puts climate action, biodiversity protection and environmental justice at the core”

“The people are clear – they want a level of commitment from our elected officials to protect and restore our natural world and to lessen the climate impacts from the likes of agriculture, energy and transport,” he added.

Karen Ciesielski, the new CEO of the Irish Environmental Network, added thatthehigh return of votes for the Green Party “shows where the public placed their priorities”.

“This was the climate and biodiversity election,” she said. “It is now the role of the incumbent candidates to take up the torch and follow through on the wishes of the people for strong action on these issues.”

In a video message released on Twitter today, the Director of Friends of the Earth Ireland Oisin Coghlan said that climate change is “finally a doorstep issue”.

“Now we need to see immediate and full implementation on time of all the practical measures in the Joint Oireachtas Committee report on climate change,” he added.

“We need to make sure that this new wave of public interest sticks…Now we have to take it from the doorstep to the statute book,” he said.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said today that the Green Party’s electoral success is “a very clear message” from the public that they “want us to do more on climate action”.

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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