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Sunday 8 December 2019

'No regrets' from climate rebels as five are arrested in week of action

Extinction Rebellion activists locked themselves to gates
Extinction Rebellion activists locked themselves to gates

Climate activists who were the first to be arrested in a week of action by Extinction Rebellion have declared they have "no regrets".

Claire Brennan (19), a veterinary student from Shankill, Co Dublin, and Rowan Golden (24), an archaeologist turned photographer from the US but now living in Dublin, were among five "rebels" who locked themselves to the back gates of the Dail late on Thursday night.

The five used bicycle locks secured around their necks and the railings, preventing the gate from opening and trapping the cars of around 20 TDs and some civil servants for almost four hours before gardai cut them free. They were arrested and taken to Kevin Street Garda Station but later released without charge.

Mr Golden and Ms Brennan went straight back to the rebel camp at Merrion Square yesterday and said they were not put off by the experience.

"No regrets," said Mr Golden.

Ms Brennan added: "Me neither. It's not enough to say you're worried about the climate and biodiversity, you have to act on it."

An open weekend to show off the newly refurbished Leinster House has been cancelled as a result of the lock-on, which the chair of the Dail described as a "serious incident".

Ceann Comhairle Sean O Fearghail said: "We are bitterly disappointed to have to take this course of action.

Risks

"However, in light of the serious incident which occurred at the Merrion Street gates of Leinster House, we cannot take any further health and safety risks for the hundreds of guests who wished to attend, and equally we cannot place our staff at risk."

Activists marked their fifth day of protests yesterday as part of Rebellion Week by plastering scientific papers on the walls of the offices of the Department of Communications.

More than a hundred protesters stopped traffic with the protest, highlighting their objection to Government backing to plans to build a terminal in the Shannon Estuary to import fracked gas from the US.

Extinction Rebellion protesters worldwide took to the streets this week. In the UK, there have been mass arrests, with more than 1,000 protesters detained.

The final day of activities in Dublin takes place today, with a day of games, art and music planned in Merrion Square to which all the public are invited.

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