Irish Fridays for Future school strikes continue to grow

Published by Niall Sargent on

February 15th, 2019

Irish schoolkids came out in numbers today in their continued support of the growing school strikes for climate action movement taking hold across the world.

The movement began almost six months ago when 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg staged a solo protest outside the Swedish parliament.

In the 26 weeks since then, Greta has become a household name and the movement has seen up to 70,000 children per week striking and marching in 270 cities around the world.

Today saw the first international mobilisation of the Youth for Climate movement, with students in counties Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Meath walking out of classes this morning.

Dara McAnulty, a 14 years old naturalist & conservationist in Co Fermanagh, stood in 90km/h winds and freezing cold this afternoon to “demand our governments declare our time an ecological crisis”.

“I am school striking for all of nature, for all of our wildlife, for all of our humanity,” he said.

On Wednesday, hundreds of sixth class students from across the country rallied before the Dáil demanding that the Government takes immediate and effective climate action.

Over 350 students and their teachers led chants calling for substantive political change, with the crowd often breaking out into a looped chant urging politicians to “save our future”.

The action comes on the heels of last month’s Children’s Rally for Climate Action held outside the Dáil, where hundreds of young protesters called on immediate action to address climate change.

Schools in counties Cork, Wicklow, Dublin, Kildare, and Limerick have already signed up to take part and organisers are hoping to expand into a Schools’ Climate Action Network.

The network aims to connect students, teachers and principals around the country who are concerned about climate change.

Eamon Ryan and Sinead Mercier of the Green Party at Student climate protest February 2019 Photo; Kayle Crosson

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan today expressed his support for the hundreds of school children across Ireland who are “showing leadership where the government has shown none”.

“I’ve been heartened to see the numbers of secondary school children gathered at the gates of Leinster House growing from week to week as part of ‘Fridays for Future’,” he said.

Mr Ryan added: “Government inaction has failed today’s children; they are set to inherit a broken planet. It’s inspiring to see the next generation engage with this issue with an urgency that has been lacking from their parents’ generation.

“They are fighting for their futures, and as many of those taking part have said, striking is the only power that they have. They have no vote. We need to step up to the plate and ensure that we deliver the action they are demanding.”

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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