The Green wave across European and local elections is a clear signal that Irish people want urgent action to tackle the climate and biodiversity crises, Ireland’s largest environmental coalition has said.
The Environmental Pillar said today that it was a heartening experience for its member organisations to see the Irish people vote en masse for biodiversity and climate on Friday.
The stand-out performance of the Green Party and projected high return of candidates is a clear sign of the shifting public position on the two most pressing issues of our generation.
If the predictions of the RTE exit poll holds firm then Councillor Ciaran Cuffe looks set to top the poll in Dublin for the European Elections for almost a quarter of the vote.
This would be a major departure from previous polls that also placed his party colleagues Grace O’Sullivan and Saoirse McHugh well out of contention in the South and Midlands-North-West races.
Both, however, are in contention for a seat in their constituencies according to the poll results even when the four per cent margin of error is accounted for.
The Green Party are also look set to be the big winners in the local elections, with the early tallies suggesting that the party could take in up to 10 per cent of the vote.
That would be a significant swell in support from the 1.6 per cent support that the party received five years ago that brought home just 12 seats. The party has over 80 candidates this time around.
The surge in support, the Pillar said, is clearly fuelled by people’s shock at the fact that one million plant and animal species are now threatened with extinction as we run out of time to tackle our runaway emissions.
The Pillar hosted three sold-out public debates in early May where citizens laid out the level of ambition that they want to see at a European level.
We are very happy to now see the concerns that citizens outlined at our hustings reflected in the wider population through the ballot box on Friday.
There can be no doubt that, like never before, these elections were climate and biodiversity elections.
The mandate for politicians is clear – act now and act boldly to make the right choices in environmental protection, in nature-friendly farming, in sustainable energy, in public transport, and in housing.
Michael Ewing, Coordinator of the Environmental Pillar said:
“Our citizens are clearly crying out for a vision for the future of both Europe and Ireland that puts climate action, biodiversity protection and environmental justice at the core of the bloc’s policies.
“We, as human beings, are just one of the estimated two billion species on the planet. Right now, through our bad behaviour, we are driving millions of species into extinction. Many of these species we haven’t even identified, let alone studied.
“In so doing we are plotting the course of our own extinction too. Our food production, healthy soils, fresh water and clean air are all maintained in delicate balance by the complexity of biodiversity.
“The people are clear – they want a level of commitment from our elected officials to protect and restore our natural world and to lessen the climate impacts from the likes of agriculture, energy and transport.
Karen Ciesielski of the Irish Environmental Network said:
“The Irish people had a choice on Friday between candidates and parties who value protecting people and the planet and those who didn’t.
“The high return of both Green Party candidates and those from other parties with climate at the top of their agenda clearly shows where the public placed their priorities. This was the climate and biodiversity election.
“Climate change and nature loss were clearly some of biggest concerns that have defined this election. It is now the role of the incumbent candidates to take up the torch and follow through on the wishes of the people for strong action on these issues.
“I would hope that that the public’s response makes the candidates think long and hard about the kind of elected officials that the Irish people want to put us at the forefront of progressive environmental policy at both a local and European level.”