This week was a busy one for climate action in Ireland. From the Courts to the streets, citizens made their voices heard, pressing the government to take more ambitious actions to reduce our country’s impact on the climate and the environment. If you missed all the buzz, read on to find out what happened.
DRESS TO PROTEST
On Wednesday evening, citizens, students and NGOs gathered at the Tara building to get creative. From two-year-olds to pensioners, students and young workers, all hands were on deck to rehearse and get properly dressed for Friday’s Global Climate Strike. Cosy atmosphere, lots of colours, and many good slogans were to be found. This bright gathering was co-hosted by Climate Case Ireland, Friends of the Earth Ireland and Swapsies, groups that will be on the front line for the following events of the week.
CLIMATE CASE IRELAND JUDGMENT
Earlier this year, Friends of the Irish Environment brought the Irish Government to Court in a bid to make the Government review its National Mitigation Plan (2017), alleged to be too weak to allow the country to achieve its national transition objectives set by the Climate Act (2015).
This Thursday was the big day: the judgement was finally delivered. A huge crowd gathered in front of the Four Courts and took a group picture, showing the massive support to the action brought by Friends of the Irish Environment. Around 2PM, everyone went to Courtroom number 1 to hear the judgement’s reading. After an hour delay, some people went home, but the Courtroom was still filled with people from every age, every horizon and different countries, to hear the judge putting a lot of emphasis on the climate emergency and recognising that there is a climate crisis: “We must fully commit to climate change as a society”. But, when it came to the core of the case, the Court said it couldn’t conclude to a breach of Constitutional law. According to the judge, the Court must respect the principle of separation of powers. Therefore, the Judiciary power can’t dictate to the Executive the content of bills and must respect its policy choices and preferences, even if it adopts some really vague documents. “It’s not the Court’s role to second-guess the government opinion on this issue”. Regarding the alleged Human Right violation, the Court conceded there is actually a breach of the right to life protected by Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Right, yet not due to the Mitigation Plan itself.
The Climate Case team said it couldn’t announce whether or not they will appeal that decision until they received the judgement in written form. However, they assured that “they won’t rest until change is done”. The Climate case saga is to be continued…
On Friday, young people around the world joined a global strike for climate action. Many adults showed their support and joined the thousands of marches happening in major cities around the globe. Several Irish cities went on strike, such as Cork, Galway and Limerick. In Dublin, the Greta effect worked, thousands of protesters assembled in front of the Custom House around noon. Many placards and banners were to be admired, some with powerful messages such as: “the climate is changing, why aren’t we?”, “seas are rising and so are we”. “What do we want? Climate action. And when do we want it? NOW.” were shouting citizens from various age while marching to Merrion Square so the Government would hear their demands.
Students aged from 12 to 16 took to the stage in front of this massive crowd, reaffirming how important it is to take action now and talked about how much blood we already have on our hands. A mom went on stage too to express that parents were also there and supported the students. At 1.49PM, a minute of silence was observed for the dying planet. Ten minutes later, the protest was dismissed, and some students went back to school for the rest of the day. To the detractors of the strike, the students simply answered, “I would be in school if the planet was cool”, because “there is no planet B, neither C”.
Photos by Rachel Husson
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