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Hundreds demonstrate to demand action on climate change

Published 29/11/2015

Hundreds gather at a climate change rally in Belfast ahead of a UN summit on the issue in Paris. Pic: Arthur Allison.
Hundreds gather at a climate change rally in Belfast ahead of a UN summit on the issue in Paris. Pic: Arthur Allison.
Hundreds gather at a climate change rally in Belfast ahead of a UN summit on the issue in Paris. Pic: Arthur Allison.
Hundreds gather at a climate change rally in Belfast ahead of a UN summit on the issue in Paris. Pic: Arthur Allison.
Hundreds gather at a climate change rally in Belfast ahead of a UN summit on the issue in Paris. Pic: Arthur Allison.
Hundreds gather at a climate change rally in Belfast ahead of a UN summit on the issue in Paris. Pic: Arthur Allison.
Hundreds gather at a climate change rally in Belfast ahead of a UN summit on the issue in Paris. Pic: Arthur Allison.
Hundreds gather at a climate change rally in Belfast ahead of a UN summit on the issue in Paris. Pic: Arthur Allison.
Protesters gather in Dublin calling for ambitious action to tackle climate change. (PA)

Hundreds of people have taken part in demonstrations demanding action on climate change.

Rallies were organised in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Belfast ahead of the United Nations' summit in Paris on Monday.

Stop Climate Chaos, which led the Dublin march, claimed the country was gearing up for an energy "revolution".

Spokesman Oisin Coghlan said: "People are marching because we don't trust our leaders to lead.

"We know the real leaders are the communities on the frontline of the climate crisis and of the energy revolution we need to solve it. Communities resisting land grabs for palm oil plantations in Africa, communities pioneering collective solar energy projects across the world and those organising to keep fossil fuels in the ground.

"Taoiseach Enda Kenny will be among the 150 world leaders meeting in Paris tomorrow and he should be in no doubt that Ireland is mobilising for an energy revolution, one that leaves behind dirty fossil fuels and embraces clean, renewable, community-owned energy."

Events have been staged in more than 70 countries with one of the largest in London.

In Paris, world leaders from more than 50 countries will attempt to thrash out a deal that will tackle global warming and encourage a shift towards renewable energy.

The global climate conference begins on Monday and is expected to continue until December 11.

Ciara Kirrane, co-ordinator of the Stop Climate Chaos coalition, said the response to their rallies demonstrated the strength and determination of their movement.

She said: "We're delighted so many different groups in Ireland have supported this call for action on climate change - from unions to student societies, NGOs and the public.

"We need everyone, now more than ever, if we are to tackle the climate crisis."

In Belfast, protesters braved the rain and bitterly cold temperatures at Writers Square in the city centre.

Among those taking part was Green Party leader Steven Agnew who said everyone had their role to play in tackling the global problem.

He said: "Our purpose is to send a message internationally that we want a deal in Paris but locally, Northern Ireland has to play its part too. This is an issue that has not gone away. It will impact on the people of Northern Ireland, albeit it will impact most on the world's poorest. But, we all need to take action to mitigate this global problem.

"We still need a climate bill.

"It was agreed to by the Assembly last year but we have not seen that forthcoming from the environment minister."

A number of other political figures attended the rally including Alliance Party leader David Ford and South Belfast MLA Anna Lo.

Meanwhile James Orr, Friends Of The Earth Northern Ireland director, told the crowd of up to 200 they stood in solidarity with environmental campaigners across the world.

He said: "This event that is happening in Paris is the most decisive event in the history of humanity. Unless we act in 2016 to reverse global warming, we are staring into the face of global genocide."

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