A WEST Cork councillor has said that a 17-year-old climate activist from Skibbereen could do just as good a job addressing councillors about climate change than well-known Swedish activist Greta Thunberg.
Cllr Danny Collins (Ind) was responding to a motion brought to the chamber by councillors from the Northern Divisions who called on the Council to write to Ms Thunberg to invite her to speak in the chamber on the importance of climate action.
Cllr Collins (Ind) pointed out that West Cork has its own ‘Greta’ in the form of Skibbereen teenager Alicia O’Sullivan, who was chosen by the Department of Foreign Affairs to attend the Youth Climate Action Summit in New York last year.
‘I’ve seen Ms Thunberg in action and she’s good but she wasn’t able to answer certain questions and I don’t see why we have to go out to Sweden when we could invite Alicia who could do just as good a job,’ said Cllr Collins.
North Cork-based councillor Pat Hayes (FF) said that Ms Thunberg is known internationally as a climate activist and because Cork County Council is very much to the forefront of climate action, he felt that it would be in the Council’s interest to invite her to speak in the chamber.
Cllr Noel McCarthy (FG) said the 17-year-old was leading the way for a greener future and he said he hopes that the local authority can be the first local authority to invite her and that she would accept it.
‘If she can’t come to meet us maybe she can do it through a video link,’ he said.
Cllr Paul Hayes (SF) also supported the motion but asked if the Council could lead by example regarding the amounts of paper they receive. ‘We got reams of paper sent to 55 of us about a pedestrian crossing in Mitchelstown and can we do our own little bit to cut down on the paper?’ asked Cllr Hayes.
Cllr Frank O’Flynn (FF), who said she is ‘the voice of climate action’ even suggested that Páirc Uí Chaoimh should be opened up for her so that people not just in Cork but in Munster throughout could get to see her.