Belfast Telegraph

Climate change campaigners take aim at ‘fast fashion’ in Dublin

Extinction Rebellion surprised shoppers with what they said was a non-judgmental and peaceful protest.

Extinction Rebellion activists in Dublin (Liam McBurney/PA)
Extinction Rebellion activists in Dublin (Liam McBurney/PA)

By Aoife Moore, PA

Climate activists in Dublin have taken on “fast fashion” with a protest against Penny’s (Primark).

Extinction Rebellion protesters assembled outside the Irish retailer’s store on O’Connell Street on Wednesday afternoon, the third day in the global week of action being undertaken by the group.

O’Connell Street, one of Dublin’s busiest thoroughfares was partially blocked off by protesters playing music and sitting on the road.

The group quickly moved off after they realised they were blocking a bus lane, and someone noted the group are supportive of public transport.

Protesters then entered the store and marched through the store, singing about fast fashion and playing loud music on a speaker.

Human beings might well be on the road of extinction and fast fashion may well to be to blame, but don’t they look gorgeous? Cillian Byrne

One man on a megaphone told customers about the effects of fast fashion on the environment, noting they were not judging the workers, and their protest was nonviolent.

Some workers watched on, however must continued to fold T-shirt’s and serve customers on the tills.

Fashion retailers have come under intense scrutiny in the last year from environmental activists, as second only to oil, the clothing and textile industry is the largest polluter in the world, and produces nearly 20% of global waste water.

According to the Ellen McArthur Foundation, clothing production has approximately doubled in the last 15 years, while the annual value of clothing discarded prematurely is more than 350 billion euro.

Brands like Penny’s (Primark), Boohoo, and Pretty Little Thing, who produce large amounts of inexpensive clothing have all been the target of ire by those concerned about the planet.

Speaking outside Penny’s, Cillian Byrne from Glasnevin told watching crowds: “The problem is fast fashion, in Ireland alone 220,000 tones of clothes are thrown out every year.

“This means rising sea levels, which means bye bye for lots of people in Ireland.

“Speaking of water, dyeing clothes is responsible for 20% of water pollution.

“These chemicals are extremely toxic to human beings, is it worth it?

“Human beings might well be on the road of extinction and fast fashion may well to be to blame, but don’t they look gorgeous?”

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Police prepare to remove demonstrators during an Extinxtion Rebellion protest in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)

The group encouraged the public to shop second hand or vintage, and be mindful of the clothes they buy and dispose of.

A Primark/Penny’s spokesman said: “There was a short and peaceful demonstration in our O’Connell Street store today.

“We take our responsibility to the environment very seriously and are committed to minimising our impact on the planet wherever we can. We recently announced a significant expansion of our sustainable cotton programme, with plans to train more than 160,000 independent cotton farmers by the end of 2022.

“The move increases the number of farmers enrolled in the programme by more than five times and takes us closer to our long-term ambition of using 100% sustainably-sourced cotton across our product range.”

Dublin’s Extinction Rebellion contingent has been relatively peaceful in its protests which began on Monday.

The group has shut off, and set up a camp in the city’s Merrion Square south, the street book ended by a large pink boat on one end, and a stage at the other, with a number of tents and tents and marquees erected on the road.

Tuesday evening saw a number of protesters forcibly lifted and carried away by the Gardai’s public order unit, who were attempting to clear Kildare Street in order for politicians to leave the Dail, as activists had settled in front of the main gates.

The protestors sang: “Gardai, we love you, we’re doing this for your children too” as a number of men and women were carried away in order to clear the roadway.

PA

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