Public assembly to coincide with Dáil return

Organisers hope thousands will turn up for ‘people’s assembly’

 Richard Boyd Barrett TD joins  Trade Unions and  civil society organisations a calling on the public to join a People’s Assembly. Photograph: Alan Betson /The Irish Times

Richard Boyd Barrett TD joins Trade Unions and civil society organisations a calling on the public to join a People’s Assembly. Photograph: Alan Betson /The Irish Times

Thu, Sep 12, 2013, 17:13

Organisers of a ‘people’s assembly’, due to coincide with the Dáil reconvenes, are hoping that thousands of people will show up to voice their concerns on a range of issues.

Trade unions, civil society groups and political organisations are organising the event, which will take place at 6pm on Wednesday, September 18th. Topics such as traveller accommodation, job displacement and austerity will be open for discussion. Despite being a few days before the referendum on Seanad abolishment, People Before Profit Councillor Bríd Smith does not expect it to be heavily discussed.

“It’s falling flat as far as ordinary people are concerned. They’re giving us a false choice. Either you have a Seanad or you don’t have a Seanad, but neither do you get real reform,” she said.

“Our main message is we want economic and social reform. Parliamentary reform will be a different day and a different debate. I’m sure it will be on some people’s minds, but it’s not exactly floating the boat for ordinary people who are trying to survive on a daily basis.”

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said he hopes the event will attract a broad spectrum of society who are suffering the effects of austerity.

“Huge numbers of people simply cannot take anymore and the next budget threatens to push them over the edge,” he said.

“We are urging people not to suffer in silence or fight alone any longer but to come together on September 18th and create an irresistible wave of people power to force a change in government policy.”

The issue of traveller accommodation will be brought up by Sally Flynn from the Ballyfermot Travellers Action Project, who feels traveller rights is an issue that is long overdue a thorough discussion.

“We live in a halting site in Ballyfermot and the conditions there are appalling. I expect it to be a topic. Everyone’s issues are important, but this is especially important. People shouldn’t have to live in these kinds of conditions,” she said.

“It’s about time they [the Government] have to listen. They can go home to their big warm beds, but there are people out there who are going to be affected by the cold Winter coming up.”