Thousands take part in climate action protests across island of Ireland

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Thousands of activists have taken part in climate protests across the island of Ireland.

Dublin and Belfast witnessed two of the largest demonstrations, while events were staged in a variety of other towns and cities including Cork and Londonderry.

Katie Harrington was among the crowds who gathered at the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin for a march through the city to Government Buildings.

Cop26 – Glasgow
Children take part in the climate change protest in Dublin (Damien Storan/PA)

“For me it’s extremely important that we use our voices,” said the Dublin woman.

“I’m not here for myself, I’m here for future generations. We need our government to actually act on climate change and the climate crisis, not just keep talking and not just keep making plans.

“It’s really important for us to use our voices and march on these streets so we’re heard.”

Among those to address a rally at Belfast City Hall was acclaimed teenage author and naturalist from Co Fermanagh Dara McAnulty.

“We are at a junction as a species and there are two paths in front of us,” he told the crowds.

“One – we change our future, we make a difference, we go on the road to restorative justice and climate action.

“Or we can go down the path of further destruction and inevitably the demise of our species.”

Cop26 – Glasgow
Activists march through Belfast city centre (David Young/PA)

The events on the island were part of a global day of action aimed at increasing pressure on world leaders attending the Cop26 conference on climate change in Glasgow.

Catherine O’Rourke from Liverpool was in Dublin to visit her daughter. She said she felt compelled to come down and join in the protest.

“I am very concerned about the future for my grandchildren and my great grandchildren and we’ve got to make a difference,” she said.

“We can’t just hope for it, we’ve got to do it. We’ve got to make our governments wake up before it’s too late. It’s already nearly too late. I had to come – I’d no choice.”

Susan Rossney from Dublin credited the Irish government with making “good progress” on climate action.

But she added: “It still bears repeating every day and in every possible format that everyone has to take action on the climate crisis.

“It’s for us now, it’s for the entire world and it’s so unjust that so much pollution is being created by the developed world and the developing world is bearing the brunt of this.”

Daithi McKay, the vice chair of the NI Climate Coalition, helped organise the event in Belfast.

“We’ve heard a lot of promises, we’ve heard a lot of pledges,” he said of Cop26.

“But we need much more than that – we need immediate action.”

Chloe Ferguson, the chair of Queen’s University Students’ Union Climate Action Group, said street protests could have a “massive impact”.

“When we look at what politicians and what our leaders respond to, they listen to what’s going to cause them the most bother publicly,” she said.

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