The Taoiseach has said the Dáil's declaration of a climate change emergency was largely "symbolic", but needed to be followed with action.

Last week Ireland became the second country in the world to make such a declaration.

However speaking during Leaders Questions, Leo Varadkar said while he welcomed the declaration it did not give the Dáil any more powers, resources or tools to deal with the problem.

The Taoiseach said it was a gesture, but he said symbols and gestures matter and that it must be followed up through action.

He said the Government was acting in a number of areas including energy, agriculture, transport and heating.

He was responding to Independent TD Catherine Connelly, who said the declaration was a first step.

She said Ireland was absent from a list of countries who were demanding more in relation to climate change.

Ms Connelly said a declaration of emergency had been "forced upon us" by numerous reports on climate change.

She called for an action plan following on from the emergency declaration to be brought before the Dáil as a matter of urgency.