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Thursday, 24th October 2019

Drogheda Extinction Rebellion protest bears fruit as Council declares climate emergency

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Secondary school students pictured during the Extinction rebellion protest in Drogheda on September.

When hundreds of school students left their desks last month and gathered in West Street to support the Drogheda protest of the international Extinction Rebellion movement they certainly hit a nerve with Louth County Councillors who have passed a motion supporting their cause.

Extinction Rebellion organisers locally have welcomed the move but have warned councillors against giving lip service to the motion without backing it up with real actions.

Sinn Fein Councillor Antóin Watters put the motion to this month’s County Council meeting following a meeting he had with the local Extinction Rebellion organisers. It received support from councillors of all parties and was adopted by the Council.

The motion reads as follows:

“That this Council declares a biodiversity and climate change emergency and recognises the need to respond more urgently to the threat facing the climate and to the global decline of species. This would include a progressive climate action plan and biodiversity plan. We have a duty to protect our children and grandchildren’s future, their quality of life and well-being, their natural eco-system and the climate in which they will live”.

Welcoming the cross party response for his motion, Cllr Watters said: “It is up to us to ensure we protect the future of our planet for our children and grandchildren. Ireland has failed to meet its Greenhouse Gas targets set by the EU for the third year in a row. We must refocus our efforts towards addressing this issue and if we were all to make small changes to our daily life, it will have an impact.”

Cllr Watters said “While the national declaration is very welcome, we need to also be aware that it is an emergency and should not be left solely up to the government. Their solution was to slap a Carbon Tax on the people who were least guilty of pollution. This is urgent, this is an emergency and it is up to you, me and our local communities to address it in practical ways.”

In a statement issued today, the Extinction Rebellion organisers in Drogheda said: “This is a very important development and we commend the councillors for supporting the motion to declare a climate and ecological emergency. 

“However, we need to start seeing tangible action from the councillors. We need every single councillor and TD in Louth to put the climate at the top of their political agenda. 

“We need to see them calling for large-scale, systemic changes on a national level, as part of a Just Transition, while proposing and supporting progressive environmental policies locally. 

"The declaration is a good start, but hopefully we’ll start to see some more action now locally as a result of this declaration”

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