In excess of one hundred local secondary school students and a large ground swell of support marched through the streets of Athlone on Friday afternoon passionately calling upon the Government to act on climate change.
The march was part of a global climate strike in which endless numbers of people took to the streets, in what is being called the biggest climate protest in history.
Locally, the action was organised by Extinction Rebellion Athlone with founding member, Darragh Connaughton, addressed the gathering prior to the march.
“The consequences of a heating planet are already being felt. Internationally, we are seeing thousand year floods, prolonged heat waves, record high temperatures, severe droughts and crop failures. If we do not limit heating this will only get worse,” Darragh emphasised.
He blamed political leaders and fossil fuel giants for prioritising profit over the protection of the natural world and encouraged everyone to get involved in the movement to prevent the destruction of the planet.
“I need you to tell everyone you know how much you care and why they should too,” Darragh continued.
Fellow Extinction Rebellion member, Julie O’ Donoghue, was critical of the Irish Government’s response to the climate and biodiversity emergency.
“Our Government is still granting fossil fuel exploration licences, blocking the climate emergency measures bill and is still subsidising the fossil fuel industry,” Julie commented.
She spoke of the need for a plan to protect society from the worst impacts of a more severe climate, prior to the departure of the peaceful demonstration from the Athlone Civic Offices.
“What effect will global food shortages have on us here in Ireland, considering that we import 80 percent of our food? We must ensure a just transition for our workers and our communities that are reliant on carbon intensive activities, while also safeguarding our children’s and grandchildren’s future,” Julie reiterated.
For more information on Extinction Rebellion Athlone, contact 087 2640589 or log onto the group’s Facebook page.