Plans to build a €500m liquified natural gas terminal on the Shannon Estuary in County Kerry drew the ire of hundreds of students who joined the climate strike in Dublin.
Molly Mercier Redmond, a second-year student from North Wicklow Educate Together, told protesters outside the Dáil that the Shannon LNG project must be stopped.
Molly said the pipeline would be used to import fracked gas from Pennsylvania in the US, despite a ban on fracking in Ireland.
Fracking is the process of drilling down into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside.
Air pollution and water contamination due to the toxic chemicals used are the greatest concerns.
“Why should we exploit somewhere else when we banned it in our own country,” Molly asked the crowd, who cheered loudly.
She warned that thousands of tourism-related jobs in Clare and Kerry would be affected by the project, which would only create about 100 jobs.
Molly said the Government must realise that their inaction on climate change was not going unnoticed.
“We see the lip-service and the photo-ops but we are here again giving up our time and our education to call you out on your inaction,” she said.
Reuben Murray, a 6th-year student at Mountrath Community School, Mountrath, Co Laois, said they were living in a time of change and he hoped it was change for the better.
“Instead of making a difference our Government has made excuses,” he said.
“They failed to take action. It isn’t us against the Government; it is all of us together against the problem and the problem is climate change, but it is a problem we can solve.”
Reuben was a member of the Youth Assembly on Climate Change that met in the Dáil two weeks ago.
The assembly made 10 recommendations on simple and effective measures and urged all of the students at the protest to become familiar with them.
“We can’t just let this opportunity go by,” he said. “We have a small window of opportunity now and if we let it go by, that’s it.”
Another speaker, Harvey Coyne, a transition student at Gonzaga College in Dublin, said the science was right in front of their eyes.
“We are at a point in time where something radical needs to be done and needs to be done now before our time is up on the planet,” he said.
“We are all here because we are fighting for our future and the future of our plan and all generations to come.”
Green Party leader Eamon Ryan who joined the protest, said he was thrilled that the students were back out again speaking the truth about the need for urgent action to tackle climate change.
He believed young people had led a change in the public consciousness.
“I find on the doors now that older people are responding and saying they [the young people] are right and that we do need to act now and it will be better for us,” he said.
“I think they have served a huge purpose and a huge role and you can see them growing in confidence as they do that. I really welcome that.”