Jennifer Whitmore TD

Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore has welcomed the outcome of a high-profile climate case taken against Switzerland in the European Court of Human Rights – a legal action that had been opposed by the Irish Government.

Deputy Whitmore, who is the party’s spokesperson on climate and biodiversity, said:

“In a landmark decision, the ECHR has ruled that weak Swiss government climate policies violate human rights. The case was taken by a group representing around 2,400 older women, known collectively as KlimaSeniorinner. They had argued that senior citizens are more likely to die in heatwaves, which have become more intense and common due to the use of fossil fuels.

“It’s inexplicable why the Irish Government last year objected to the legal challenge being taken in the ECHR by the so-called ‘Swiss Grannies’. While other countries made written submissions to the court at the time, Ireland, along with Switzerland, actually sent a legal team over to Strasbourg to verbally object.

“The ECHR found that the Swiss authorities had not acted in time to come up with a strategy to reduce emissions and ruled that the applicants had not had appropriate access to justice in Switzerland.

“This ruling will put countries throughout Europe, including Ireland, under legal pressure in domestic courts to meet their targets under the Paris Agreement, which seeks to stop the earth from heating 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

“Our Government’s Climate Action Plan rings hollow in the face of its opposition to a case that centred not only on the future of the planet, but on the fundamental human rights of those most at risk from extreme weather events.”

April 9, 2024

Back to all Posts