Students take to the streets tomorrow in climate change call

From left: Alíona Hamilton, Eoin McGuiness, and Réitseal nic Donnacha, all from Coláiste an Eachreidh, Athenry, preparing for tomorrow's climate protest from 1pm. Photo: Sorcha Carrick.

From left: Alíona Hamilton, Eoin McGuiness, and Réitseal nic Donnacha, all from Coláiste an Eachreidh, Athenry, preparing for tomorrow's climate protest from 1pm. Photo: Sorcha Carrick.

Students from across Galway will take to the streets tomorrow (Friday ) to demand action on climate change. The events, organised by local students and youth groups, will see teenagers skip school to attend a demonstration in Eyre Square calling on the Government to secure the future of the environment.

In the first of two planned events, secondary school students from around the city and county will gather in Eyre Square at 1pm tomorrow to call on the Government to take immediate action on climate change. Called #FridaysForFuture, this is the first in a series of planned school strikes by young students who are sick of waiting for leaders to take the issue seriously.

“If we don’t act now we won’t have a future," said Alíona Hamilton of Athenry, a member of the Fridays for Future group which is organising the protest. "Why should we study for a future we won’t have? Climate change is a fact, why should we learn facts if the Government isn’t listening to the facts?"

The Galway students are part of a global movement started by 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, with tens of thousands of students expected to take part in the school strike across the world this Friday.

Fridays For Future Galway was formed last month, and the group plans to continue striking until action is taken on climate change.

The group has invited a number of local organisations to come out and support their strike this Friday including the students’ unions of both NUI, Galway and GMIT. They have also issued invitation to every elected member of Galway City Council to support their action.

Also tomorrow, the climate change group of Youth Work Ireland Galway will march through the streets of the city at 2.30pm.

The group will also join the earlier demonstration by students in Eyre Square, but have chosen to run theirs at a slightly later time to allow other youth groups from around the county to join them in the city centre. Group members have said they are holding the demonstration to raise awareness of the emergency facing the planet, and to influence the Government, businesses, and communities to listen to what the science is saying.

Youth Work Ireland Galway groups throughout the county are also running events focusing on green issues throughout 2019/2020. Kinvara Youth Council is working closely with Plastic Free Kinvara, Tuam Youth Council is busy preparing for the ‘Go Green for Tuam’s Wellbeing’ themed St Patrick's Day parade in the town, and other local youth councils are tackling issues such as reducing food waste, promoting zero waste, using public transport, and changing our reliance on ‘fast fashion’. All of these groups have representatives on County Galway’s Comhairle na nÓg, coordinated by Deirdre Bermingham.

Follow the group's preparations and activities on www.facebook.com/capeyouthprojectgalway

Meanwhile Pauline O'Reilly, local Green Party representative and spokesperson for Children and Youth Affairs, is urging people to get out and support the students tomorrow.

"Young people feel desperately let down," Ms O'Reilly said. "Unable to vote and innocent of the current environmental crisis, they have chosen to engage in what has been called Fridays For Future strikes. I meet parents and grandparents every day who are equally concerned about their children's futures. We are very much behind them."

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