Minister Eamon Ryan

 

*Eamon Ryan. Photograph: John Mangan

A group of protestors last night attempted to effect a citizen’s arrest of the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications.

The protest occurred in the Old Ground Hotel in Ennis where Minister Eamon Ryan was holding a public meeting.

The Minister had just started to speak when members of community action group, Futureproof Clare, made their way to the front of the room and stood either side of him

Scariff woman, Sinead Sheehan, approached the Minister and said, “Minster Eamon Ryan, you are being placed under citizen’s arrest, charged with the crimes of eco-cide against the people of Clare, against the people of Ireland, against humanity. You have the right to remain silent but anything you say can be used against you as evidence”.

Ms Sheehan was joined by fellow protestors with signs highlighting a range of issues including the proposed Shannon LNG gas terminal, fracking and species eradication.

Clare Green Party senator, Róisín Garvey, urged the protestors to allow the Minister to respond and give others the chance to participate in the meeting.

“Other people have to speak as well, it can’t be all about you. These are very important issues you are raising. This is not democracy, you are taking over the meeting. Please desist now. He can answer ye’re questions. Please sit down. Other people have questions as well. All your issues are very valid but this not how you do a public meeting. This is a democracy”, she said.

Minister Ryan said, “The issue of eco-cide is real. We are in a world where we are at risk. Not just because of climate change but because of lack of biodiversity. That does have to be something that guides us, inevitably. We all make mistakes. No one is perfect. No one knows everything. But we will try our best to address the ecological crisis we see before us….I’ll speak if I could about government and about what government can do.  I think what we need to do is to apply the same urgency that we did in the covid emergency to the other existential challenges that face us.”

The protestors remained in place for the duration of the 76 minute meeting and on several occasions attempted to interrupt or ask questions of the Minister as he responded to questions from the floor.

There were some exchanges between the group and others in attendance who urged the protestors to return to their seats and let the meeting proceed.

At the end of the meeting, Senator Garvey told the protestors, “I believe in what you believe in. I’m the same as you but there are ways of doing things and this was not the way. I’m sorry about that. I admire your passion”.

Afterwards, the protestors told the Clare Echo they were members of Futureproof Clare.

Members handed out flyers bearing logos for Futureproof Clare and Extinction Rebellion.

Asked if she thought the protest had been effective, Sinead Sheehan said, “What we wanted to do was to try and tell the truth and get this information out there. If we managed to educate a few people, it was worth it. Even if we’re not popular”.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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