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Students strike for climate change

Wednesday, 13th March, 2019 4:48pm

Students will protest this Friday over what they say is a lack of Government action on climate change.

Secondary school students will be protesting outside City Hall and County Hall this Friday as part of nationwide protests taking place around the country.

Two organisations led by students and teachers, Fridays for Future Ireland and School Strikes 4 Climate, are spearheading the protests, which are inspired by young Swedish activist Greta Thunberg with similar protests recently held around the world.

The Cork city protest will take place outside City Hall between 1pm and 2pm this Friday 15 March, with other protests taking place outside County Hall, government buildings in Dublin and outside local authorities across the country.

Many schools and parents are expected to facilitate pupils attending the strikes, with others staging solidarity events on their own premises.

UCC Emeritus Professor John Sodeau, who researches atmospheric chemistry and aerobiology and is an An Taisce climate ambassador, said he sympathised with the younger generation making their voices heard.

“Those who are most affected will be these schoolchildren and their future children who, in 2050, when they will be just getting ready to live a good life, will be impacted by disease and living in extreme weather conditions,” he said.

“The previous and current generation have not been able to make the planet sustainable, so you can see why the younger generation are wishing to put their point of view across.”

Professor Sodeau said the Government’s failure to better address climate change was visible in moves such as not raising carbon tax in the most recent Budget.

“The big thing is to go after the decision-makers, those who will be voting and deciding on issues related to the environment. The track record of the Government is not good, if you take proposals like carbon tax, which they evidently don’t believe there are votes in yet.”

Meanwhile, this week saw a motion to ask the Government to establish a dedicated department and minister for climate change prevention passed by Cork County Council.

The motion was proposed by Fianna Fáil Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan, who posted on social media saying politicians in Ireland had “failed to show any leadership when it comes to climate action”.

Cllr O’Sullivan said he hoped Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, who last week voiced his support for the student protest in the Dáil, would take heed of the Council vote.

“The time for words is over. We need action,” he finished.

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