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Divesting from fossil fuel companies – Church and State

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This article was first published in the Church of Ireland Gazette 31 March 2017.


The Irish Parliament has become the first country in the world to vote for full divestment from fossil fuel companies. It is a move based on ethical principles and increases pressure on Churches in Ireland to do the same.

The vote in the Dáil means that the €8 billion Ireland Strategic Investment Fund must sell its shares in coal, oil and gas companies over the next five years.

The Irish Parliament has joined a divestment movement that started in 2008 and is now worth $5 trillion dollars globally.

The movement started when a group of university students decided to take action. The students had learnt that 80% of existing fossil fuel deposits must stay in the ground to avoid dangerous climate change, so their message was simple: if you are not careful, your fossil fuel investments might become stranded and worthless.

Investing in fossil fuels seems an increasingly risky business when a new energy revoluti…