WATCH: Limerick's teen climate activists mark one year of school strikes

Rebecca Laffan

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Rebecca Laffan

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rebecca.laffan@iconicnews.ie

FRIDAYS For Future Limerick took to the streets of the city for the 52nd consecutive week this Friday morning - an entire year after their first-ever protest. 

The Limerick branch, founded by teen climate activist Saoirse Exton, 14, take part in protests every Friday as part of the global school strike movement led by Greta Thunberg. 

"A lot of my friends are ones I've made through this," explained Saoirse when asked what her friends and family think of her activism, "my family of course support me and some of my teachers are really great about it too."

Saoirse explained how 52 weeks ago, she lacked the confidence in her protesting that she now has, saying: "I was a lot more nervous than I am now, I was scared I'd get in trouble form my school and I was scared that nobody would know why I was doing it.

"Nobody has come up and said anything nasty to us really, but it hasn't changed a lot over the year. For now, most people just look at us and don't really know what's going on still. I'm working towards getting that to change."

Saoirse said that though there has been some policy change in the past year, there's a lot more that needs to be done.  

"We've now seen the declaration of a climate emergency and we have the Climate Action Plan too but it's not enough, we have an emergency here in Limerick too. Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael still have so much power and I'm scared if they coalesce that things will just stay the same and we can't afford that. We need to put people before money, and for want of a better word - profit!"

Incoming local Green Party councillor Saša Novak, who has replaced deputy Brian Leddin in the council, was also present for the milestone protest.

"It's a bit sad that this has taken so long and nobody is properly listening, but they are persistent and they keep going and I hope more adults will listen to them," she said, "I hope they won't be here for much longer."

Regarding her new council appointment, Saša said: "It's all very exciting, but I'm ready to learn and to keep working from where Brian left off."