July 17th, 2019
Members of Extinction Rebellion Ireland disrupted traffic in Co Dublin for the second day running to highlight the capital’s air pollution problem as part of an international week of climate action.
Protesters staged a “slow cycle” this lunchtime as multiple cyclists and people on foot blockaded traffic along the quay, holding banners imploring the Government to act on climate change.
The action was part of Extinction Rebellion’s week-long Operation Mushroom which the group has described as their “summer uprising”
Earlier this week, the group blocked several streets and held “die-ins” on both Grafton Street and the Natural History Museum.
Maria Arnold was among the protesters and, as an avid cyclist said that she finds that “there’s less and less space for us on the roads”.
“You’re constantly sitting beside big trucks and buses that are spewing out diesel fumes, so really for us it’s a battle,” Ms Arnold told The Green News.
Today’s action comes just days after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported that Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) levels in areas of the capital have exceeded EU limits.
Pollution hotspots include the M50 motorway, the entrance to and exit from the Dublin Port Tunnel, and certain city centre streets.
NO2 in our air is emitted through traffic, and levels of the chemical can vary depending on the density and type of vehicle, as well as the weather condition and road size.
In order to address the scale of the climate crisis, Extinction Rebellion Ireland have demanded that the Government immediately implement the recommendations of the Citizens’ Assembly on climate change, prioritize public transport, and introduce congestion charges or introduce a traffic ban in Dublin city centre.
The international Extinction Rebellion movement began last summer in the UK and rose to prominence in November 2018 after thousands of activists blocked London bridges, disrupted traffic, and glued themselves to public buildings.
This week’s series of action comes on the heels of XR Ireland interrupting a speech from Minister for Climate Action Richard Bruton at an event held by Forestry Industries Ireland last week, outlining the group’s opposition to a conifer plantation led forestry model.
The group instead calls for more native woodland planting and better engagement with local communities where large forestry projects are set to take place.