Extinction Rebellion launches alternative budget

October 8th, 2019

Extinction Rebellion Ireland has launched its own climate-specific budget as the Government delivers its budget for the upcoming fiscal year. 

The Budget for Climate Justice calls on the Government to stop adhering to a “business as usual” approach, which will, the group says, “inevitably lead to a global climate catastrophe, ecological devastation, economic collapse and mass extinction”. 

The document was read aloud in front of government buildings beside Merrion Square in Dublin, with protesters taking turns to read aloud different segments. 

The group calls on the Government to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, and stresses that in order to do so, the development plans for the Shannon LNG terminal must be stopped. 

Building the terminal would “lock Ireland into dependence on imported fracked gas for the next 30 years, flooding the market with gas and pushing out the development of renewables”, the group said.

A firebreather performs after the budget is read aloud Photo: Kayle Crosson
A firebreather performs after the budget is read aloud Photo: Kayle Crosson

List of demands

The document goes on to demand the immediate implementation of the Citizen’s Assembly recommendations on climate change and the diversification of agriculture. 

The changes, the group stresses, must be all made within the context of a just transition, both in Ireland and globally. 

Such a transition would provide proper provision for the protection of the rights of the workers impacted by the transition to a low carbon economy through retraining and the establishment of a Just Transition Task Force supported by strong funding as recommended by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action. 

“We need to ensure a more equitable future for all Irish citizens, both urban and rural from struggling families facing fuel poverty to farming communities seeking a living wage for an honest day’s work,” an Extinction Rebellion spokesperson said. 

After reading aloud the contents of the budget, climate poet Lucy Holmes read her poem “Silence”, imploring the government to act and not remain silent on the climate crisis, asking, “how will you deal with the truth when the world ends in silence?” 

Lucy Holmes reading porm ‘Silence’ Photo: Kayle Crosson

Week of Rebellion 

The climate budget came on the second day of Rebellion Week, which is an international week-long event to highlight climate breakdown and the biodiversity crisis. 

The group is remaining coy on further actions to take place across the remainder of the week, only stating that they will employ family-friendly non-violent civil disobedience to “bring society to a standstill” and force the Government to respond to the climate emergency. 

The international movement began with 10 people in the UK last summer, rising to prominence in November 2018 when thousands blocked bridges and glued themselves to public buildings. 

The Irish branch of the global XR movement began over a year ago with a public meeting in the Teachers Club in Co Dublin. Since then the group has grown rapidly with local groups set up across the country. 

Writing in The Green News last week, one of the Irish founding members Dr Ciarán Ó Carroll said that the group is taking to the streets as decades of conventional activities such as voting, lobbying, and petition writing has failed to ignite political and public will to tackle the climate crisis.