By Jade Carpenter and Paula Bowden
“Our future, our lives, our right to survive.” This was the chant coming from the crowd gathered outside Leinster House on Tuesday evening, as Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe’s environmental provisions for budget 2020 were met with a lukewarm reaction from climate activists and members of Extinction Rebellion.
As part of #RebellionWeek, the so-called rebels took to the streets of Dublin to stage sit-ins and protests, calling for action on the climate crisis —but exactly what action are protestors calling for?
“Reducing cars, reducing traffic, even more bins. We need more recycling bins,” said protestor Sian Conway. “I live out in Kilbarrack and we had a bottle bank bin for ages and now it’s just gone. It’s just not there anymore. I think the government really need to be facilitating people to recycle with more resources.”
Protestor, Brendan McGlynn, believes the government needs to think big to combat the crisis and halt climate change.
“I think there has to be a massive active involvement to change the systematic problem that we have in place,” said Brendan. “It has to be across the board a massive change that makes people feel uncomfortable. You have to make people feel uneasy because everyone needs to change, and change a lot.
“I think at the minute the government aren’t really putting all their cards on the table and really going for it, but they need to, because it is an emergency now and it isn’t enough to just push recycling as an incentive we need a massive systematic change otherwise things will just stay the same,” he added.
Iryna, a member of Extinction Rebellion, was manning a refreshment tent at Merrion Square providing drinks and snacks for protestors. She told us about their aims for the protest and what action they want to see.
“Extinction Rebellion’s main goals are; to tell the truth, organise a citizen’s response, reduce fossil fuels and to reduce our emissions completely by 2025,” Iryna said. “Every single person we’ve seen at the sight so far has been so friendly and so supportive and I think they really appreciate what we’re doing. I do believe we’re doing the right thing.”
Outside Leinster House the focus was very much on a peaceful protest as activists held banners and sang songs late into the evening, taking turns at the megaphone to explain their own reasons for being there. As the Garda barrier around the entrance to government buildings eventually dispersed, protestors cheered and clapped, serenading members of the force with a chorus of “Gardai we love you, we’re doing this for your children too.”