CORK students are playing a prominent role in the international climate strike movement, with youth leader Greta Thunberg referring to them as ‘real heroes’.
Strikes in favour of urgent action to address climate change have swept the Western world, as students skip school to express their dissatisfaction. The movement, broadly known as Fridays for Future (F4F), was started by Ms Thunberg, a 16-year old Swedish activist, about seven months ago and has snowballed since.
Ms Thunberg, who has been travelling across Europe and joining strikes in Brussels and Paris, singled out the Cork protests for special praise.
“There has been a number of real heroes on school strike, for instance in Scotland and Ireland, for some time now,” she told the Guardian recently. “Such as Holly Gillibrand and the ones in Cork with the epic sign saying ‘the emperor is naked’.”
The Cork F4F strike, led by Saoi O’Connor, has completed its seventh week.
Every Friday, Saoi and fellow students — including many from Cork Educate Together Secondary School, who are heavily involved — stand in front of the city hall with placards and protest.
Saoi said that the strikes have been consistently growing and that they have been in contact with some local councillors, though not formally.
“There are plans in the works with Fridays for Future Ireland,” she told the Echo. “We’re the Youth F4F Movement in Ireland so we don’t necessarily represent the Dail strikes or Cork Educate Together but we’re one group of F4F in Ireland.
Like what Britain did last week, we’re looking at a national day of action here in Ireland, because we’ve got a few strikes in the works that are just getting themselves up and running. We’re thinking if we could get them all up in one day that would be great.
“I have people in a lot of counties who are setting stuff up.”
Plans continue to develop for the big upcoming March 15 strikes, which will be co-ordinated globally. Cork Educate Together Secondary School is to have a large part in organising events in Cork on the day.