Belfast Telegraph

Thousands of schoolchildren miss classes to protest against climate change

Pupils took part in demonstrations across Ireland to urge the Government to take action on the issue.

Thousands of pupils march from St Stephen’s Green to Leinster House (Niall Carson/PA)
Thousands of pupils march from St Stephen’s Green to Leinster House (Niall Carson/PA)

Thousands of children have taken to streets across the country for climate change demonstrations.

Primary and secondary school pupils missed classes on Friday to protest against the Government’s inaction on the issue.

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Pupils warned ‘there is no Planet B’ and said climate change is ‘easy to ignore till the Earth is no more’ (Niall Carson/PA)

The demonstration was part of a global movement by schoolchildren which has been inspired by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, who staged a series of strikes over climate change at her school.

In January, 35,000 students took to the streets of Brussels on a single day to highlight the need for global action on the issue.

In Dublin, children gathered on St Stephen’s Green on Friday afternoon chanting: “What do we want? Change. When do we want it? Now.”

They then made their way to the gates of Dail Eireann, where they carried hand-made banners and posters, some of which read “there is no Planet B”, “Leo try harder” and “easy to ignore till the Earth is no more”.

The demonstrations were organised by a loose coalition of pupils in schools across the country.

Primary school pupil Sadhbh Kenny and her mother Roisin were among those taking part in the protest in the capital.

“We want to help the environment and the Taoiseach isn’t helping,” Sadhbh said. “I want him to help.”

The eight-year-old, who attends Kilcoskan National School in north Co Dublin, painted a picture of the Earth with the words ‘save me’.

Roisin Kenny said her daughter had asked her to come into the city.

“I’m blown away by the passion of the young people and the movement by Greta Thunberg,” she said.

“We just wanted to get involved and have a voice and say our piece. It’s something great to be part of, especially for children.”

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Thousands of pupils march from St Stephen’s Green to Leinster House (Niall Carson/PA)

Helena Cheah and her two sons, Sean, nine, and Oisin, six, who attend Educate Together in Portlaoise, were among the protesters who turned up to call for action.

The family travelled from Portlaoise to get involved because Ms Cheah said they think a lot about the planet and her son Sean stresses about how to change Earth for the better.

“This was an opportunity to make a point and do something so that’s why we’re here,” she said.

Portlaoise mother Annette Morris Keane said had travelled to Dublin with her children Rori, 11, and Kila, eight, because she feels responsible for their future when it comes to climate change.

“What’s happening now is going to affect their future,” she said.

“They can feel a little helpless sometimes so this is so that they don’t have to feel so helpless and they have a say in what happens in their future.”

Rori and Kila made their way through the streets to the gates of Leinster House with posters that read “sorry, I can’t clean my room, I have to save the planet” and “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed”.

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The Dublin march was one of dozens in Ireland (Niall Carson/PA)

Italian teacher Cristiana Ziraldo attended the event with 22 of her pupils, who were in Dublin to learn English.

She said the teenagers had skipped their last class on Friday to take part in protest with Irish students.

“They wanted to, they asked me to, so I couldn’t possibly turn down their request because their peers back home in our home town near Venice are doing the same,” Ms Ziraldo said.

Federica De Biero, 17, from the town of Pordenone, said she wanted to join Irish students because it was part of an international movement.

“It’s beautiful to see all the students fight for our rights,” she said.

Press Association

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