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Monday 18 November 2019

Schoolkids strike for climate action

School students from across Ireland rally in Dublin city as they join other youngsters in worldwide protests aimed at persuading political leaders to act now to stop what they see as the growing threat of global climate change. Photo: Niall Carson/PA
School students from across Ireland rally in Dublin city as they join other youngsters in worldwide protests aimed at persuading political leaders to act now to stop what they see as the growing threat of global climate change. Photo: Niall Carson/PA

Thousands turned out for the #schoolstrike4climate protest outside Leinster House, with schoolchildren making up the majority of the crowd.

Gathering at noon at St Stephen's Green yesterday, the protest of roughly 8,000 people made its way to Molesworth Street where a stage had been set up for speeches.

Protesters were calling for the Government to increase its action on climate change, with the disuse of fossil fuels a priority for many in the crowd.

The movement was part of a global initiative calling for action to end climate change, inspired by the school strikes of Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg.

The event was MCed by Mollie Redmond, a second-year student from North Wicklow Educate Together Secondary School.

Among the speakers was Salim Kajani, a third year student from St Michael's in Dublin.

Sickened

"I was sickened looking at statistics - only 7pc of our energy for transport comes from renewable resources.

"Knowing what is going on with climate change, it is ridiculous that this Government seem to be doing basically nothing compared to what we could be doing," said Salim.

Speaking to the Herald, the Junior Cert pupil also expressed his anger that geography is no longer a compulsory subject for second-level students in the junior cycle.

"Geography was removed from the junior cycle syllabus as a compulsory subject.

Thousands of Dublin students march from St Stephens green to Leinster House, joining a global protest for action to tackle climate change. Photo: Niall Carson/PA
Thousands of Dublin students march from St Stephens green to Leinster House, joining a global protest for action to tackle climate change. Photo: Niall Carson/PA

"Yet it covers so many things, not only climate change but population and acid rain," he said.

As for the importance of the event, he said: "You do have homelessness, lack of hospital beds and Brexit, but this is one of the biggest issues and we need to focus on that."

Marchers held signs aloft emblazoned with slogans such as "There is no Planet B", "Our future, our problem", and "Save the bees, plant more trees".

Parents and teachers were also at the protest.

The Hoyne family had made the journey from Offaly to Dublin for the event.

"We're here with our four kids. In our lives we list the environment very high in our list of priorities in the house, in the way we live," said mum Aileen.

"When the people of Ireland had an opportunity to come out and demonstrate to the Government that we are all serious about this, we didn't want to miss the opportunity," she said. "We travelled up on the train from Offaly.

"Greta was inspirational for the children too. They could see that somebody small was able to stand up and people are listening to her."

Olive Smith had brought her children Farah, a fourth class student, and Cole, a sixth class student from Oaklands Primary School.

"We had an in-service day with the school so we had the chance to come out," explained Olive. "Farah is on the Greenschools Committee in Oatlands and we thought we would bite the bullet and come in and make some noise."

Elsewhere, parents organised smaller protests outside schools, with strikes ongoing for the last month.

Nellie Tattersall is mum to two children at North Kildare Educate Together school.

She is a member of the Parent Climate Action group at the school, which began its Friday strikes on February 15.

The group hopes to get children walking to school as many are still being dropped at school in cars despite living within walking distance.

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