Cork County Council to invite Greta Thunberg to speak on climate change

Cork County Council to invite Greta Thunberg to speak on climate change
Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg

COUNTY Mayor Christopher said he would be delighted to invite Swedish activist Greta Thunberg to speak at County Hall or to address the council via video-link.

The suggestion was brought to the council today by members of the council's Northern Division, chaired by Fianna Fáil Councillor Pat Hayes.

The invitation received a great deal of support from the councillors.

Fianna Fáil Councillor Gearoid Murphy was one of the first to back the motion, describing 17-year-old Ms Thunberg as a great advocate for better sustainability and a wonderful example for other young people.

Green Party Councillor Alan O’Connor said he also welcomed the invitation and said the speech would be inspiring and educational, but warned, the council must follow through with climate change action, using an analogy of a car speeding towards the edge of a cliff.

Greta Thunberg speaks during the UN Climate Action Summit on September 23, 2019 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. 
Greta Thunberg speaks during the UN Climate Action Summit on September 23, 2019 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. 

Greta was called an “outstanding young woman” by Labour Councillor James Kennedy.

“Young people are really shaming people of my generation, it is the same when you speak about the economy, we are passing on huge debt to the next generation and also an existential threat to young people.

“The world now has become so uncertain, it is a very hard world.” 

Fianna Fáil councillor Frank O Flynn suggested if Ms Thunberg takes up the invitation the council looks at booking Páirc Uí Chaoimh to give more people a chance to hear her.

Mayor Christopher O’Sullivan quipped the young teenager was not a rockstar, but said he would love to support the motion.

“She has inspired young people and clearly the older generation as well," he said.

Mr O’Sullivan listed the ongoing issues associated with climate change including the bush fires in Australia and also the increased frequency of storms, including today's Storm Brendan, which was ongoing during the meeting.

“Climate change is a real thing. If Greta does take up the invitation, we can’t just pay homage, we need to listen and take action," he said.

Independent Councillor Danny Collins suggested local activist Alice O’Sullivan from Clonakilty could speak at the council instead.

“I’ve seen this girl (Greta Thunberg) in action, she’s good, but we have a lady in West Cork, Alicia O’Sullivan, and she is doing just as good a job.”

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