November 22, 2022
Schools can be leaders on Climate Action – Darren O’Rourke TD, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD, Senator Lynn Boylan

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Climate Action, Darren O’Rourke TD, Education spokesperson, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD and Climate Justice spokesperson, Senator Lynn Boylan, today published a number of proposals that can help make schools catalysts for climate action. 

Darren O’Rourke TD said;

“Sinn Féin are today launching our proposals to deliver a fairer, greener Ireland through our schools. Our document ‘Schools As A Catalyst For Climate Action’ outlines how we can cut emissions, cut school costs for families and invest in future generations. This would have a positive impact for every school and every community across the state. 

“Every day one million primary and post-primary students travel to school, but according to the last Census, 60% do so by private car. This highlights the massive opportunity we have to make schools leaders in sustainable transport and cut carbon emissions.

“Sinn Féin would add 10,000 places to the School Transport Scheme giving more parents and students a convenient and green mode of transport on their local school bus.

“In addition, we would expand the Safe Routes to School programme, investing in new active travel infrastructure on the approach to schools to make it a safer and more attractive option for more staff and students.

“We have also brought forward a plan to install solar PV on every school in the state. This can help schools reduce their energy bills and cut emissions. We welcome the government’s subsequent announcement on this front, but we are concerned about the total lack of detail and timelines on this.

“Witnessing structural changes like the installation of solar PV on school building, combined with enhanced education on climate action in the classroom, will help promote a greater understanding and knowledge of the subject.”

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD said;

“Education on climate change and climate action is essential to arm young people with the information and skills they need to tackle the biggest challenge facing humanity.

“The teaching of climate change and climate action varies considerably across the board, and the quality and breath of it is often dependent on the interest and enthusiasm of individual teachers.

“We want to standardise and improve the teaching of this critical subject, by giving teachers and students the resources needed to understand the causes of global warming and inspire the next generation to create a more sustainable society and economy.

“We would ensure the new primary school curriculum, and Aistear Framework, both incorporate international best practice on the teaching of climate change and climate literacy, to ensure that all children can have access to high quality Education for Sustainable Development from a young age.”

Senator Lynn Boylan said;

“Each year we throw out 110,000 tonnes of textiles which is scandalous. Sinn Féin are bringing forward proposals that would cut textile waste from the education sector by reforming unduly strict uniform rules.

“Parents are often required to purchase additional school clothes, tracksuits for sport activities for example, that end up being unused and going to waste. We would clamp down on such practices. The current situation not only results in unnecessary waste, it also puts unnecessary pressure on families’ finances at a time when they are already under pressure due to the cost of living crisis.

“We would also introduce a free schoolbook scheme, and issue guidance to schools discouraging the use of single-use workbooks and frequent changes in textbooks, to cut the cost for parents and reduce the amount of schoolbooks being thrown out every year. We need to promote the circular economy in the education sector.”

Sinn Féin’s document Schools As A Catalyst for Climate Action is available to view online here

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