Thousands expected to support global climate strike

The student organisers of today’s (Friday’s) global climate strike expect thousands to participate in rallies and demonstrations in scores of cities and towns across Ireland. The Irish events are part of an international initiative, which is expected to be the largest ever worldwide mobilisation for action on the climate crisis.

Large student-organised rallies are planned for Dublin and Cork, with protests also planned in over 50 towns in 18 counties across the country. Citizens have been urged to stage their own events in workplaces and communities if they are unable to attend an organised event.

Spearheaded by the Irish and international students behind recent school strikes for climate action, today’s Irish protests are part of an international campaign of strikes and actions planned in the week to 27th September, to coincide with the emergency UN climate summit, which takes place in New York from next Monday (23rd September).

Student-organised rallies are planned for Dublin and Cork, with protests also planned in over 50 towns in 18 counties across the country.

They follow a series of school strikes, staged on Fridays in Ireland and across the planet, which were initially inspired by 15-year-old Swedish student Greta Thurnberg’s solo strike in August 2018.

Strikes took place in over 2,000 cities worldwide during the last mass international action in March 2019, when some 15,000 Irish students participated in protests and actions.

The Irish actions are being led by a network of climate activists including Fridays for Future Ireland, Schools Climate Action Network and SchoolStrikes4 Climate Ireland. The global call for adults to join today’s action has been supported by over 50 organisations in Ireland including unions, grassroots groups, development organisations, environmental organisations and faith-based groups.

Citizens are being urged to stage their own events in workplaces and communities if they are unable to attend an organised event.

They include: Afri, An Taisce, Birdwatch Ireland, Christian Aid, Comhlamh, Community Work Ireland, Concern Worldwide, Cultivate,, Dublin Friends of the Earth, Dundrum Climate Vigil, Friends of the Irish Environment, Fórsa, Eco-Congregation, Eco-Unesco, Feasta, Extinction Rebellion, Friends of the Earth, Good Energies Alliance Ireland, Happenings, Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Irish Doctors for the Environment, Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice, Just Forests, Latin America Solidarity Centre, Mount Mellick Environmental Group, National Youth Council of Ireland, Not Here Not Anywhere, Oxfam, Presentation Ireland, Self Help Africa, Siptu, Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, Stop Climate Chaos, Tearfund Ireland, Trocaire, USI, Vita, Voice, and Young Friends of the Earth.

Speaking in advance of today’s Global Climate Strike, Grainne O’ Sullivan, a student from North Wicklow Educate Together, said: ‘I will always protest for climate action and will always support those who do. But I hope that I won’t have to, and that the Irish government will act soon. For that to happen we need everyone’s support, no matter what age they are.”

Patricia King, general secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), which has called on the Government to establish a national Just Transition Task Force, said: “Young people are demanding that their governments recognise the urgency and severity of the climate crisis and take appropriate action. Congress and its affiliated unions salute them for the leadership they have shown on this issue, and we stand with them to send an unequivocal message that climate action is needed now. Congress has asked workers and their communities to join in the global week of action to coincide with the UN Climate Summit, and we will continue to work for a just and lasting global transition to environmental sustainability, built on social dialogue.”

Dominic MacSorley, chief executive of Concern, which is a member of Stop Climate Chaos, said: “The student protests provide a crucial moment to demand urgent action on climate change and stand in solidarity with those whose are already being impacted by climate breakdown. The greatest injustice of climate change is that it is already severely impacting on the lives of some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people, those who have contributed least to the problem, who are primarily dependent on agriculture for survival, and who have the least amount of resources to cope with devastation when it arrives. The young people taking to the streets here in Ireland and around the world are calling out the inaction and negligence that has led to this injustice. Their cause is urgent, their energy is inspiring. We stand with them.”