Just days before the schools climate strike, another street-based show of strength took place in Dublin, this time in the leafy environs of Lansdowne Road. Donning their green scarves, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and foreign minister Simon Coveney were photographed strolling to the rugby match with IFA president Joe Healy and EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.
In rugby parlance, Leo was shoulder-to-shoulder with Healy, who looked like the cat who’d got the cream. The only person missing from the shot was Coveney’s big brother, Patrick, chief executive of agrifood giant Greencore. Goldhawk wondered if the topic of the report of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Climate Action, which is due to report imminently, arose.
Agri lobbyists have to date successfully throttled all meaningful attempts at reining in spiralling emissions from their sector. Their ‘casual’ PR stunt with Varadkar and Coveney was an unsubtle attempt to telegraph that they still have Fine Gael by the cojones and revolting schoolkids aren’t going to loosen their grip.
This may help explain the otherwise baffling decision by Teagasc, the state agriculture research agency, to allow one of its senior economists to recently address the self-styled Irish Climate Science Forum, a secretive grouping of (mostly elderly) contrarians and curmudgeons working hard to stymie climate action in Ireland.