herald

Saturday 19 October 2019

Minister is drowned out by Extinction Rebellion protest

Richard Bruton
Richard Bruton

Environmental activists interrupted a speech yesterday by Climate Action Minister Richard Bruton at a Forest Industries Ireland conference in the Botanic Gardens.

Two members of protest group Extinction Rebellion walked to the front of the conference hall with a banner emblazoned with the warning "60% species extinction globally in 45 years" and "no more sitka", but were quickly ushered out of the room by organisers.

Shouted

Mr Bruton continued speaking, but was soon interrupted again by another protester who had been sitting in the crowd.

He shouted over Mr Bruton as the minister attempted to continue, and as organisers rushed to defuse the situation, others from the group began to stand up from their seats and have their say.

As the noise levels rose, many attendees hushed the protesters, saying they were "misinformed".

An agreement was reached to allow the group to elect one speaker to make a short address to outline its position.

They called for more urgency from the Government in the face of climate change, saying Ireland needed to "act like your house is on fire - because it is".

They said current policy was "not ambitious enough".

The minister then resumed his speech.

Sarah Doherty (21), from Kilkenny, was one of the protest group and add-ressed the conference.

Members of Extinction Rebellion glue themselves together as they stage a protest at the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment in Dublin. Photo: Justin Farrelly/PA Wire
Members of Extinction Rebellion glue themselves together as they stage a protest at the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment in Dublin. Photo: Justin Farrelly/PA Wire

Speaking to the Herald afterwards, she said they had come to the event to speak with the minister rather than members of the forestry sector.

Superglued

"We weren't trying to target the people in the group, as their beliefs are in line with ours. We were trying to target the Government," she said.

Members of the group later superglued themselves to door of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment in Adelaide Road and to each other.

Cormac Nugent, from Newbridge, who had been stuck to the building since 2.30pm, said: "The Government has undemocratically quashed a Climate Emergency Measures Bill."

Members of Extinction Rebellion Ireland stage a protest outside Forestry Industries Ireland's 'Real Solutions to Ireland's Climate Emergency' Conference at the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland in Dublin. Photo: Justin Farrelly/PA Wire
Members of Extinction Rebellion Ireland stage a protest outside Forestry Industries Ireland's 'Real Solutions to Ireland's Climate Emergency' Conference at the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland in Dublin. Photo: Justin Farrelly/PA Wire

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