Mal O'Hara

“Greenwashing” won’t wash with us

Green Party Northern Ireland Deputy Leader Mal O’Hara has written to the newspapers this week in response to Lord Mayor John Finucane’s assertion that dealing with”climate change” would be a key priority for his year as First Citizen.

Read Mal’s statement in full below:

Dear Editor:

I am pleased that Belfast Lord Mayor John Finucane has just identified “climate change” as an important area of focus for his year as First Citizen. 

During John’s inaugural speech climate breakdown wasn’t mentioned. I urged the new Lord Mayor to prioritise it. I am delighted he and his party are listening.

I studied with John at St Malachy’s College back in the day.  John was too clever to need to copy any of my school work back then. It feels like John and his Sinn Fein colleagues are peeking over our shoulders now!

But, it’s great that Sinn Fein want to take forward Green Party policies! It’s critical that we make sure that they do it properly.

There is a growing public consciousness of climate breakdown. That was reflected in the recent “green wave” with Green politicians returned en mass across Europe including a resurgence of the Irish Green Party and significant gains in Britain.

I’m not precious about other parties furthering our policies if progress is to be made. What’s precious is our planet.

I say to Sinn Fein and indeed any party taking up the cause of climate breakdown – welcome on board, dust down your seat, we’ve been waiting for you!

However, talking about “climate change” is not a cheap ride to popular support. There are four Green Councillors on Belfast City Council committed to ensuring that we recognise climate breakdown as the most significant challenge facing our city and we have the policies to deal with it. 

This means tough choices and radical departures from the current economic orthodoxy. If other parties are genuine, they will continue to back us.

Otherwise, it’s just greenwash – and that won’t wash with us.

Cllr Malachai O’Hara

Deputy Leader of Green Party Northern Ireland

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