Cork climate campaigners say there is no “pat on the back” for politicians after the Dáil declared a climate emergency.
On Thursday night Ireland became only the second country to declare a climate and biodiversity emergency. The amendment to the Oireachtas report on climate change was made by Fianna Fáil and accepted by both the Government and opposition parties.
While it is the first step in helping tackle climate change, protest organiser Saoi O’Connor won’t be praising the Dáil just yet.
“I think that it’s great that they’re finally acknowledging the existence of the climate crisis, but it’s the bare minimum they could do and they don’t get to pat themselves on the back — there’s still no party doing enough to fight the crisis,” she said.
Green Party Councillor Oliver Moran believes that the next step for Cork is for the City and County Council to declare a local emergency.
“We need to demand that the other parties who have agreed that there is an emergency, that they live up to that,” he said.
Mr Moran also pointed the finger at those who make plans for new projects. He said that the small decisions they make, that they think won’t do any harm, all build up.
“The biggest thing that will have to come out of this is for planners and decision makers in local authorities and nationally, to recognise an emergency has been declared and all of these little things which they think won’t cause any harm, are causing harm and they can’t happen anymore.”
The Fridays for Future group protest outside City Hall each Friday and Ms O’Connor has said that until politicians act on their declaration, they will continue to be there.
“We’ll keep striking until they act on their words.”
When asked if she is confident that the Government will follow through on the declaration, Saoi said, “no, I think we’re going to have to make sure that they act.”
Mr Moran says there is an opportunity for Cork to be at the forefront of tackling this issue.
“It is a moment for Cork to also turn around and meet the challenges of the future.”