July 8th, 2019
Members of Extinction Rebellion Ireland have glued themselves to the Department of Climate Action building in Dublin this afternoon to protest against the recent blocking of a Bill to limit the issuing of new fossil fuel licences.
Holding photographs of their children, nieces and nephews, five activists have superglued their hands to the doors of the Department and say they are willing to risk arrest in order to “ensure the children of this country will have a future”.
After situating themselves in front of the Department at approximately 2:45pm, members of the Garda Road Policing Unit arrived to inquire about the protest. At the time of publication, no arrests have been made and the protesters remain in place.
“I have two nephews aged 5 and 10, and I couldn’t just pretend this wasn’t happening. I couldn’t go on acting as if everything was ‘grand’ when it clearly wasn’t,” Extinction Rebellion member and protester Cormac Nugent said.
“We are also here for the future of our children, of our planet, of Ireland, and for our kids and we’re going to stay here for as long as it takes,” Manuel Salazar of Extinction Rebellion told The Green News as his hand remained glued to the building.
The international Extinction Rebellion movement began last summer in the UK and rose to prominence in November 2018 when thousands of activists blocked London bridges, disrupted traffic, and glued themselves to public buildings.
The movement uses non-violent civil disobedience, Extinction Rebellion founding member Roger Hallam told The Green News, with the disruption to daily life paling in comparison to what’s coming down the line without urgent action from world leaders.
The Climate Emergency Measures Bill, which the Dail has twice voted to progress to Third Stage, would end the issuing of new licences to explore for oil and gas in Irish waters.
Minister for Climate Action Richard Bruton sent a letter to Bill author Brid Smith TD last week saying that he was “unable to recommend to Government that it issues a money message” for the Bill.
A money message is a State recommendation signed by the Taoiseach approving of legislation that will cost the State money. Unless approval is received, a Bill cannot progress to Committee Stage.
The letter said the Government’s opinion that the Bill will not reduce Ireland’s emissions and will instead “ensure that Ireland must import all its fossil fuels” in the transition to a low carbon society.
The letter says that the Government’s new climate action plan will deliver on targets – including 70 per cent renewable electricity by 2030 – that Ms Smith’s Bill would make “no contribution to delivering”.
XR Ireland had earlier interrupted a speech from Mr Bruton at an event held by Forestry Industries Ireland this morning, 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 planned.