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Friday 19 July 2019

'It's an emergency' - climate protests hit the streets of capital

Extinction Rebellion’s sit-down protest on O’Connell Bridge
Extinction Rebellion’s sit-down protest on O’Connell Bridge
Inset, Uisce (5) with mum Cara

Hundreds of environmental activists gathered in front of the Dublin Spire yesterday as part of the Extinction Rebellion protests against climate change.

Traffic was diverted away from O'Connell Bridge by gardai as protesters made their way from the GPO to the Liffey crossing, where they took part in a sit-down protest.

There was a mixture of young and old at the event, all concerned about the impact of climate change on the planet.

Extinction Rebellion's Sue Breen said that while protesters hoped to see moves from the Government to support their action, she did not expect it soon.

Truth

"Unfortunately, we don't expect it to happen today, but whatever happens today the campaign will continue with great gusto," she said.

In her speech, Ms Breen said: "We are here to tell the truth and to ask the Government to tell the truth, and the truth is that this is an emergency.

"The truth is that we are destroying 18 million acres of forest per year - that is the equivalent of the size of Panama.

"We are not here to cause trouble or disrupt your day."

However, she added that "the system is not just broken, it is malignant, and it has poisoned every river, every stream".

Among the crowd who travelled to the city centre was Majella O'Connor (43), from Co Tipperary, accompanying her daughter Eva (11) to the event.

Meanwhile, Liz Barry (73), from Donaghmede, said she attended the event for the sake of her grandchildren.

She said Ireland was better in the past at re-using packaging, with less plastic in use too.

"When we were young you got chips in newspapers and you got your milk bottles, very little plastic, you bought your fruit loose, your cheese loose, your vegetables loose," she said.

"Now everything is pre-packed and it's killing the environment."

There has been nearly a week of climate protests in London.

Actress Emma Thompson rallied cheering Extinction Rebellion activists blocking London's busiest shopping street yesterday afternoon and declared: "Our planet is in serious trouble".

She stood on top of a pink boat at Oxford Circus reading a "love poem to the Earth".

Speaking to reporters, she said her generation had failed to protect the planet for young people.

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