Last May, Ireland was among the first countries in the world to declare a climate and biodiversity emergency. In September, over 20,000 students took to the streets of Dublin demanding urgent climate action. And, plugging into the new ecological zeitgeist, RTÉ, Ireland’s national broadcaster, produced a week-long series of climate-related programmes and events that were broadcast in November.
In that context, Ireland seemed set for its first ever “climate election”, when Taoiseach Leo Varadkar dissolved the Dáil (parliament) and called an election for February 8th. Climate activists have been canvassing under the banner of “One Future Ireland”, with the slogan: “Act now for faster and fairer climate action”.
However, recent polls suggest that fewer than one in 10 people see climate as the most important issue when deciding how to vote. Parochial concerns have once again crowded out the bigger picture.