Protesters blast Eamon Ryan as he says 'politics of division' will not work for climate crisis

protesters blast eamon ryan as he says 'politics of division' will not work for climate crisis

File photo of Eamon Ryan

ENVIRONMENT MINISTER EAMON Ryan has said the “politics of division” will not work to tackle the climate crisis.

Ryan was speaking in Trinity College as part of the university’s Green Week when he was interrupted by protesters who blasted the minister and his party.

The protesters, some of whom were holding an Extinction Rebellion banner, accused the Greens and the government of allowing people fall into “poverty and hardship” through “neoliberal economic policies”.

Ryan did not respond directly to the protesters.

The small group of protesters were removed by Trinity security after sharply criticising the government for ending the eviction ban.

One of the protesters, Laszlo Molnarfi, the incoming president of Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union, said Ryan and the Greens had “blood on [their] hands”.

A separate group of students, representing postgrads, staged a protest outside the lecture theatre, lambasting Ryan and his party. The group protested outside the Dáil earlier today demanding better pay for PhD students.

Several audience members voiced their disapproval at the protesters, telling them Ryan’s address was “not the place” to air grievances about the government.

Ryan said Ireland was not like the United States where climate change was highly divisive.

“Everyone needs to change … if we go about this as: ‘You’re the problem, the political left versus right, young versus old, rural versus urban,’ it won’t work.”

He also said the trope of environmentalists and farmers being “at war” had to stop, and rejected the suggestion that the Green Party was bad for farming.

He said one of the results of this trope was “we don’t have young people going into forestry or farming.”

He said he understood that it was difficult for farmers to be told that they should not drain their lands when they had been told for “for the last 60 to 70 years” that they should drain it.

Land drainage is commonly used by farmers on waterlogged grass fields to increase crop yield and lower production costs. However, it is bad for climate change and biodiversity.


After his address, Ryan answered a number of pre-submitted questions, including one on how parties such as the Greens can bring about long-term change within the constant cycle of elections.

Ryan said he remained an advocate of going into government and would form a coalition with anyone “as long as it’s peaceful”.

“You can’t absolve yourself of responsibility … you can’t say: I’ll wait for the perfect coalition.”

This week, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said that countries’ current promises will likely not be sufficient to prevent temperatures from warming by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The amount of greenhouse gas emissions that are expected by 2030 under countries’ Paris Agreement plans make it likely that global warming will exceed 1.5 degrees during the 21st century and make it harder to keep it below 2 degrees – thresholds that the world faces staying within or being hit by major adverse impacts of climate change.

However, the IPCC’s latest report said there is a wide range of feasible and effective options available to countries to reduce emissions.

Ryan said he was not in favour of transitioning to nuclear power in Ireland, though he said he was not opposed to it in general for mitigating the climate crisis.

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