May 13th, 2019
A motion calling on Dún Laoghaire Rathdown Council to
declare a climate emergency has passed unanimously at a meeting of the local
authority this evening.
The passage of the motion brought by People Before Profit makes the local authority the second in the country to make the move following Wicklow County Council’s declaration of both a climate and biodiversity emergency earlier this month.
Last week, the Dáil declared a climate and biodiversity emergency, making Ireland
one of the first countries to officially recognise the gravity of the crisis
Scotland, Wales, Malta and the parliament in Westminster
officially have all declared climate emergencies in the past few weeks.
The declaration of a climate emergency is one of the key demands of both the school strikes and Extinction Rebellion movements that have gained momentum since the turn of the year.
Councillor Melisa Halpin said this evening that she was
pleased that other councillors supported PBP’s motion that recognised that the
earth is “facing the most deadly crisis it has seen”
“But what is most important is that we as a council back up
this motion with the radical action that is needed to tackle the climate and
ecological crisis at a local level,” she added.
In particular, she added that the council needs greater investment
in public transport and a reduction in fares, as well as “massive investment in
safe cycling infrastructure”.
“We need more government funding to go to our parks and
wildlife services and a massive programme of afforestation in the county,” she added.
Rates of afforestation – the planting of a forest in an area that had no previous tree cover – in Dublin are the lowest in the country.
Green Party candidate for Clontarf Donna Cooney also wants
to see Dublin City Council declare a climate and biodiversity emergency in line
with the Dail’s decision last week.
Ms Cooney said that the issues of climate and ecological breakdown
need to be treated seriously at a local level too, calling on the Council to “follow
suit now and to show leadership locally”.
Ms Cooney’s call echoes that of the Greens MEP candidate for
the South constituency Senator Grace O’Sullivan, who said that action must
happen at every level.
“Declaring an emergency is step one. Now we need to follow on from that and act accordingly,” the Waterford native said.
“At a local level Dublin City Council should now declare an emergency, put their Climate Action Plan in place, and let the people of know that they are taking it seriously.”