An Irish teenager received a standing ovation after he gave a passionate speech criticising the government over climate change.
Conal O’Boyle said that Fine Gael was ‘passing the buck’ by encouraging citizens to recycle but doing little stop big businesses from curbing industrial scale emissions.
The 16-year-old, from Co Donegal, was speaking in front of Ireland’s Minister for Climate Action and Environment, Richard Burton, at an event at the MacGill Summer School.
Conal wasn’t overawed by the fact that Mr Burton was in attendance and he let the minister know exactly what he thought.
He said: “The Fine Gael Party line of ‘every individual has a role to play in tackling climate change’ is a lie.
“Of course, we have a civic responsibility to recycle and ensure that our towns and villages are litter free, but Mary in Dingle or John in Castlebar cannot pull the plug on oil exploration off the west coast.
“They cannot introduce a smoky coal ban or implement policy that will curb our emissions.
“That’s the job of the legislators in Government.
“Fine Gael are trying to pass the buck onto the everyday citizen of the country, when ultimately, the buck stops with them. We need bravery, not cowardice.
“I am a sixteen-year-old boy who cares about the living world. I don’t know why I have to stand up for my future at this age.
“None of those sitting beside me ever – apart from Jessie (another student activist) – had to do that.
“I can campaign and lobby and scream and shout all I want, but at the end of the day, the ball is not in my court.
“I cannot vote, so all I can do is make my voice heard. It’s not fun, it’s not cool, but it’s necessary.”
Conal was given a huge cheer and a standing ovation at the end of his speech, while Mr Burton sat in silence.
Mr Burton later admitted that the government would not reach its target of reducing emissions by 2020.
He told the Irish Mirror: “Present forecasts suggest we will only deliver 5% of that target, we will be down by only 1%, so we are completely off target.”
Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcalling