Belfast Telegraph

Extinction Rebellion carry out fourth day of protest in Dublin

Campaigners gathered outside the gates of Dail Eireann

Extinction Rebellion protesters outside Red Flag Consulting’s office in Dublin city centre (Brian Lawless/PA)
Extinction Rebellion protesters outside Red Flag Consulting’s office in Dublin city centre (Brian Lawless/PA)

By Aoife Moore, PA

Environmental activists have shut down Dublin city centre for a fourth day, for a protest over agriculture and forestry.

On Thursday morning, a small number of protesters set up camp outside the front door of Red Flag Consultancy’s offices in Ely Place, gluing themselves to the main entrance and garden fence of the Georgian property.

The group’s statement said they had chosen the offices, as the firm “has been associated with numerous harmful campaigns”, adding that the company has “recently been hired by several agriculture organisation’s (including Bord Bia) to promote Ireland’s meat and dairy industry as sustainable”.

Karl Brophy, CEO of Red Flag, said that the group were misinformed.

“The Extinction Rebellion movement is undoubtedly well-intentioned, but this small group is missing the mark by protesting outside our offices,” he said.

“At Red Flag we’re proud of the work we do for our clients, including the work we do to counter misinformation about the health benefits and sustainability of the Irish meat and dairy industry.  We’re especially proud to represent Irish products and produce all over the world.

“All of our work is based on facts and science, unlike the claims these protesters are making about us, many of which are false.”

The larger Extinction Rebellion group, who have set up camp in Merrion Street South throughout the week, donned costumes made of branches, trees and shrubs, and marched as a makeshift human forest across Stephen’s Green before forming a protest outside the gates of Dail Eireann.

The group had initially planned to march to the front door of the Department of Agriculture on Kildare Street, however awaiting Gardai had blocked off most of the street with barricades to ensure politicians and staff could leave the Government offices.

The group held posters at the protest and chanted their opposition to the planting of Sitka spruce trees, which is commercially grown for logging, and the group claims is detrimental to natural Irish wildlife.

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Extinction Rebellion protesters march to Leinster House (Brian Lawless/PA)

Sitkas are a non-native coniferous tree that activists say drive out endangered wildlife such as hen harriers and curlews, birds that they say could be extinct in Ireland in the next 10 years.

The group believe that current Irish Government forestry practises and targets will not deliver on EU biodiversity goals or carbon reduction targets of the Paris agreement.

Oisin McNeil, speaking outside the Dail said: “Ireland has the second lowest level of forestry in the EU at 11%, mostly Sitka, which creates ecological dead zones, this cannot go on any longer.”

Extinction Rebellion say they are a non-violent, direct action, climate change protest group who are holding a series of disruptive protests throughout the week in Dublin and around the world.

On Wednesday, the group protested through fashion retailer Penney’s on O’Connell Street against the retailer’s sale of mass-produced, low-price clothes and the effect on the climate.

PA

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