Sunshine brings protesters onto the streets

Weekend protests in Dublin against Croke Park 2, GMOs and property tax

A protest march against the Local Property Tax in Dublin in April. On Saturday, demonstrators against the property tax tooted car horns in a melody, in turns, and the cacophony seemed to come around in co-ordinated waves. 
Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

A protest march against the Local Property Tax in Dublin in April. On Saturday, demonstrators against the property tax tooted car horns in a melody, in turns, and the cacophony seemed to come around in co-ordinated waves. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Mon, May 27, 2013, 15:13

It may have been the sudden arrival of sunshine which brought crowds and sightseers to the streets of Dublin on Saturday , but shoppers were interrupted on a number of occasions by loud and boisterous, but peaceful, protests.

At the Garden of Remembrance at 2p.m. a colourful crowd of several hundred people gathered for the Irish arm of the international ‘March Against Monsanto’, protest against genetically modified food.

Part of a world-wide demonstration involving groups in 33 countries and 250 cities across six continents, the marchers were told to be proud of their opposition to the company Monsanto which has been making and running trials on genetically modified food.

Gardai escorted the marchers along the streets to Leinster House, holding back traffic and preventing a vehicle-borne protest against the property tax from clashing with the pedestrians.

About 50 private cars and commercial vehicles circled the O’Connell Street D’Olier Street, and Westmoreland Street area, hooting horns and bearing placards with slogans proclaiming “Boycott the Property Tax. Fight Austerity”. A number of vehicles had balloons and a digitally altered photograph of Taoiseach Enda Kenny showing him with a large, pointed nose and bearing the words: “It is morally wrong, unjust and unfair to tax a person’s home - Enda Kenny”.

Just down the quays in Liberty Hall, INTO trade union activist and opponent of Croke Park 2 Niall Smith told a group of about 150 people the trade union leadership was in a diabolical plot with the media and the Government to “cajole people” into voting for Croke Park 2.

He said there was a “growing gulf” between leadership and ordinary activists and those who wanted to build opposition to Croke Park 2 should network with union activists in other unions, as “the role of the leadership has been to police us, not to guide us”. He said David Begg of ICTU was a company director, on a number of boards including Aer Lingus “and The Irish Times” and used RTE to hold “Bishop like” audiences telling the country to be “realistic”. Mr Smyth said: “I’m sorry. The membership of the trade union movement said no, rejected the deal. They need to respect that”.

Back on the streets the Anti Property Tax demonstrators were tooting their car horns in a melody, in turns, so the cacophony seemed to come around in coordinated waves.

At Kildare Street the Monsanto marchers gathered outside the Dáil but were first interrupted by a man admirably competing with a loud speaker held by anti Monsanto marcher Tony O’Brien. The unidentified man, who started to speak at the top of his voice each time Mr O’Brien spoke, warned the crowd that the country would not be sorted out until the six counties of Northern Ireland were reunited with the other 26 counties.

At the request of gardai the March Against Monsanto, chanting “whose streets - our streets” moved to a public square outside the Department of Agriculture. Mr O’Brien and others said once ’for profit companies’ owned seeds and crops they would be immensely powerful controlling the food supply. The crowd was also told the US had adopted generically engineered foods and crops without proper testing. “It is a very serious issue and one that has not go a lot of media comment” a marcher said handing over a number of leaflets.

Back down outside the Dáil and number of people were placing placards highlighting the fact that Saturday was International Missing Children’s Day.

Missing Children’s Day is also a worldwide event and in Ireland an ISPCC established Missing Children’s will be officially launched by the ISPCC and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs on June. 7 The service is already will primarily provide advice and support to family members of a missing child and to the child themselves.