Campaigners picket ‘talking shop’ biodiversity conference

Campaigners Picket ‘Talking Shop’ Biodiversity Conference Campaigners Picket ‘Talking Shop’ Biodiversity Conference
Extinction Rebellion protest, © PA Archive/PA Images
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By Dominic McGrath, PA

A biodiversity conference in Dublin was labelled a “talking shop” by climate campaigners who protested at the event on Wednesday.

The conference at Dublin Castle was attended by the Minister for Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, as the Government prepares to publish a new biodiversity action plan.

Demonstrators on Wednesday accused the Government of not doing enough to protect Irish biodiversity, at a protest organised by Extinction Rebellion and the Irish Wildlife Trust.

They called on Mr O’Brien and the Government to put the latest biodiversity plan on a legal footing.


Padraic Fogarty, the campaigns officer at the Irish Wildlife Trust, said: “This is going to be our fourth biodiversity action plan and we know that biodiversity is still in serious decline.

“Really what we’re saying is that we need a change of approach.


“We want to see the national biodiversity action plan put on a legal footing, just like the climate action plan is, so there will be proper accountability and implementation.”

He labelled the meeting another “talking shop”.

“We need to talk and we need to have conferences, that’s fine, but we have to do much more than just have conferences and give speeches. We need to get on and do the actions,” Mr Fogarty said.

He warned about the perilous state of Irish nature and wildlife.


“We have looked at the past three biodiversity action plans and there is a long list of items that have never gotten anywhere – the process is becoming completely pointless unless greater action is taken.

“Biodiversity has collapsed in Ireland. We don’t have natural ecosystems in Ireland anymore. We look throughout our countryside and we think it looks green and the sea looks blue, but actually nature is a state of collapse across these landscapes.”

Demonstrators, some dressed as coal miners carrying canaries, warned that time is running out to protect Irish wildlife as they paraded through the gates of Dublin Castle in the city centre.

Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore joined protesters on Wednesday morning.


“Successive Governments have failed to look after nature. It has been year in, year out, and we have a lot of talk, very little action when it comes to actually protecting our wildlife, our communities,” she said.

“There has been an awful lot of plans and very few actions.

“We cannot rely on the next Government being one that is wildlife-friendly. We need legislation to be in place.”

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