Donegal TD Thomas Pringle will be speaking at an international conference in San Francisco on his successful Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill which makes Ireland the first country in the world to divest public money from fossil fuel companies.

The Bill will compel the Government to remove public money from investments in fossil fuel companies as part of Ireland’s obligations under the Paris Agreement and was passed in July with cross-party support and is due to pass the Seanad shortly in the new term.

Due to the successful passage of Deputy Pringle’s piece of legislation, organisers of the DivestInvest conference of the Sainsbury Trust invited Pringle to speak alongside others including former President of Ireland Mary Robinson.

The event is scheduled to take place on Monday, September 10.

Speaking ahead of the conference, Deputy Pringle said: "I’m delighted that my Bill is already having such a positive impact globally as it makes Ireland the first country in the world to divest.

"Hopefully it will compel other countries to follow suit – a huge development given Ireland’s current status as a laggard when it comes to climate action.

“I will be emphasising the hugely important role that civil society played in all of this particularly with regards to Trocaire, Stop Climate Chaos and several Universities across Ireland rightly putting pressure on politicians to act.

"As an Independent closely representing my own constituency I was able to listen to activists on the ground and had the will to work with anyone so long as they shared the common goal to work for the common good. As a result the Bill received cross-party support.

“I believe that those who are able to act against climate change are politicians and private sector interests whose actions and policies have contribute overwhelmingly to climate change and inaction in the first place.

"My Bill is reflective of the fact that the public want these interests to be held to account and take on their fair share of the burden when it comes to acting against climate change.

“Public support of the Bill came well before the Government decided to support it which is again indicative of the fact that the people are well ahead of politicians when it comes to climate action.

"It also proves that the Irish public and the international community are ready to think and act beyond narrow short term vested interests and will take the opportunities that lie ahead of us to bring in real change.

“With the progression of my Bill and my work on the Climate Action Committee in the Dáil I hope to pursue the principle of climate justice by holding the Government and vested interests to account in an effort to turn around Ireland’s image from laggard to leader.”

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