Extinction Rebellion Clare disrupts Irish Open

Published by Niall Sargent on

July 4th, 2019

Members of Extinction Rebellion Clare disrupted the first day of the Irish Open in Lahinch today to bring international attention to the climate crisis in Ireland.

At 1:20 pm, just as Shane Lowry was approaching the 18th green at the golf tournament, the Clare-based climate activists unfurled a huge banner that read “Game Over: Climate Action Now!” 

The local branch of the international movement said that it did so to appeal to the four-day event’s global TV audience to demand urgent action by the world’s governments to prevent a climate catastrophe. 

“We disrupted the golf event for a few moments to draw attention to the unimaginable disruption to our world that is threatened due to climate breakdown,” Aisling Wheeler of Extinction Rebellion Clare said.

“If governments do not take radical action very quickly, the result will be catastrophic extreme weather events, drought and food shortages, from which Ireland will not be spared,” she added.

“More than half a billion TV viewers will be watching Lahinch this weekend but what nobody is talking about is that Lahinch will be a series of islands within a few decades if business as usual continues. 

“This action is not anti-golf. We expect real golf lovers to understand. Some of the best golf courses are by the coast, so golf is the sport most threatened by climate breakdown. And golfers love the outdoors.” 

Anne Marie Harrington, also of Extinction Rebellion Clare, added that the group was “left with no option but to take direct action” as politicians and the media are not taking the climate threat seriously enough. “The threat of climate breakdown should be front page news every day,” she added.

Photo: Extinction Rebellion Clare

She said that the group also wanted to highlight “the elephant in the room” of the tournament’s sponsorship by Dubai Duty Free, a sponsorship that “seeks to persuade people to fly more and to fly long-haul”.

“The airline industry is growing and is driving greenhouse gas emissions that are destroying our futures. Some 80% of world’s population never fly, but it is they who are already suffering the effects of climate chaos,” she added.

“People would be appalled if the Irish Open were sponsored by a cigarette company, and yet excessive air travel is a big contributor to climate breakdown, which is an existential threat far more severe than the smoking epidemic.”

Another Extinction Rebellion action is expected to take place on Lahinch Beach on the final day of the Irish Open this Sunday with a “colourful, family-friendly protest on the beach from 1pm to 4pm”.

People are asked to bring a picnic, musical instrument and a towel or blanket, so that participants can lie on the sand to create a huge Extinction Rebellion symbol highlighting the dangers that government inaction poses to our children’s and our planet’s future, the group said.

The now-global Extinction Rebellion movement began with 10 people in the UK last summer and rose to prominence in November 2018 when thousands of activists blocked London bridges, disrupted traffic, and glued themselves to public buildings.

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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