Eamon Ryan discusses climate change and Palestine in wide-ranging speech at Green Party conference

Mr Ryan used his platform to call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza to allow humanitarian aid to pass through the region
Eamon Ryan discusses climate change and Palestine in wide-ranging speech at Green Party conference

Handout photo issued by the Green Party of Eamon Ryan speaking at a press conference at the Green Party convention in Cork, Ireland. Picture: Green Party/PA Wire

Runaway climate change can still be stopped, the Green Party leader has said.

Weather systems are “spinning off the dial” and climate change is sparking international conflict causing death, destruction and mass migration, Eamon Ryan warned.

“Climate change is scary,” Mr Ryan told the Green Party conference in Cork.

“Especially this year when we have seen our weather systems across the world spinning off the dial.

“Our young people are understandably anxious about the state of the planet they will inherit.

“We know we need to pay a new generation of farmers and foresters to protect nature as well as providing our food and wood. We know nature-based solutions can reduce flood risk, as well as restoring biodiversity and tackling climate change.

“We also know we can switch to a 100% renewable power system and it will be more secure, less prone to price shocks and will deliver good jobs that last.

“We can see how a transport system centred around walking and cycling and public transport is better for everyone.” 

And government can bring about those changes, he said.

“In a world at war, voting green is a vote for a more peaceful world.

“In a world that is burning, voting green protects our people. It is the antidote to fear,” Mr Ryan said.

Restoring the homes and businesses flooded during Storm Babet this week is a government priority, he said.

“Our hearts go out to anyone whose house or premise went under water. We will have to redouble our efforts to get them back in shape and then prepare for the more extreme weather events we know are to come.” 

Climate change and conflict are interconnected and addressing the climate crisis is the best way to reduce war and forced migration, the Green Party leader said.

In a world of turmoil and resource wars, the places hit hardest by climate change are where conflicts are taking hold, Mr Ryan said.

“The two are connected and will become increasingly so unless we cut emissions.

“It is particularly stark in Africa where the ability of societies to cope is already stretched.

“Our response cannot be to try and build a wall around Europe, to outsource immigration centres to Libya or to turn a blind eye to the drowning of thousands in the Mediterranean.” 


At next month’s COP28 negotiations in Dubai, Mr Ryan said that he will argue for the “polluter pays” principle so fossil fuel companies, the aviation industry and the maritime sector, contribute to the global financing needed to respond to the climate crisis.

“We can use the finance raised to provide clean power to the 600 million people in Africa without access to any electricity. It is the best way of preventing conflict and reducing forced migration.

“No one wants to have to leave their own home.

"If we can make our common home more stable by spreading this green revolution, it will improve everyone’s way of life. Our security is enhanced when our neighbour is also safe and well.

“This is the peace project of our time.” 

'Immediate ceasefire'

 The hearts of the Irish people are with Palestine, he said, as horrific scenes in Gaza have shocked and enraged the world.

“The oppression of the people in Gaza and the West Bank has to stop now. The humanitarian imperative requires an immediate ceasefire.” 

But Mr Ryan also said that Ireland’s first response “must be to condemn the slaughter of Israeli citizens that took place two weeks ago today.” 

“It was an evil act that resonated all the more because the Jewish people have for centuries had to bear their own history of expulsion, persecution, antisemitism and genocide. Nothing can excuse the murder of innocent civilians, nothing good can come from targeting people that way.” 

Green achievements

Mr Ryan also used the speech at the party conference to raise a number of Green Party achievements.

“The new agri-environmental schemes have been oversubscribed. Pippa Hackett’s new €1.3bn forestry programme will deliver more native woodlands,” he said.

“Thanks to the Green Party we also have a landmark €3.15bn fund for climate and nature, to resource a new nature restoration plan.

“Three years ago there were hardly any PV panels on Irish roofs but now over 1,000 homes a week are joining the solar revolution.

“The retrofitting of homes has doubled and Offshore wind is on its way. In the meantime, we’ve helped absorb the shock of high fossil fuel costs with energy credits, which were designed and delivered by us.

“We are introducing a new rural bus service every week and have cut fares for everyone under 26 in half. They are now flocking to the new services with numbers growing 112% year on year.” 

The first stage of a new Cork Metropolitan rail service will begin next year with through traffic opened at Kent station.

And in February, a deposit refund scheme for bottles and cans will be introduced.

“Next year another 100,000 rural homes will be able to get high speed fibre broadband and by 2027 we will be one of the most digitally connected countries in the world,” he said.

But Ireland must still build “a lot more houses and apartments”, he said.

“We will build over 30,000 new homes this year. Early indications are that the number will rise to 40,000 next year and it needs to grow to beyond 50,000 houses in the years after that. It is not impossible. I can see that the Government’s Housing For All Strategy is starting to work. It can be done.

“I don’t buy the false promise from the opposition that they could turn things around at a flick of a switch. I don’t buy their claims they have a monopoly of concern about the issue. Such boasts will not build a single extra home,” Mr Ryan said, addressing Green Party delegates in Cork City Hall.

“In the past small parties in Government were described as the mudguard. This time around we are the vanguard for change.”

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