Up to 10,000 march on cuts
About 10,000 people took part in an anti-austerity protest through the streets of Dublin today, according to a Garda spokeswoman. Organisers put the figure at twice that number, however.
Marchers began to assemble around the Garden of Remembrance from midday.
The demonstrators were led by a young woman wearing a white mask and riding a dark horse with a banner reading "No to austerity" draped around it. Road closures were in place in Dublin city centre as the march made its way from Parnell Square, through O’Connell Street, onto d’Olier Street, before returning onto O’Connell Street, where speeches took place outside the GPO.
As the front of the march crossed over O’Connell Bridge back to the northside, the rear of the demonstration was still making its way onto the other end of O’Connell Street from Parnell Square.
Michael O’Reilly, president of the Dublin Council of Trade Unions (DCTU), which co-organised the gathering, said it was just one step in a long campaign to reverse cutbacks.
“The evidence is clear - you cannot cut your way out of a recession,” he told protesters gathered outside the GPO on O’Connell Street.
“On the contrary: with each cut in public spending, and with each euro taken out of the pockets of low and average earners in new or increased taxes, we are digging ourselves further into a hole.”
The march, organised by the Campaign Against Household and Water Charges, the Dublin Council of Trade Unions and supported by the ICTU, Siptu and other trade unions, was also joined by members of People Before Profit Alliance, Sinn Féin and the Socialist party, organisations including the Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed and groups and individuals from around the country.
The march was also supported by regional groups, among them organisations from Monaghan, Donegal, Waterford, Kilkenny and Cork, which are variously opposed to the household tax, water charges and the septic tank charge.
Sean Walsh, who is part of a group from Portlaw, Co Waterford, which is opposed to the household charge, said he was “very encouraged” by today’s turnout.
“The effect [of austerity] is that it’s slowly tripping the country, slowly but surely and slowly affecting all business. In the rural areas the shopkeepers and publicans and so forth, they are slowly being put out of business and slowly being ground to a halt. It’s a simple message: austerity is not working, and we must fight it and we must get the message across to the Government,” he said.
The march was also attended by individuals including Wesley Fitzgibbons, a fitter who was with his four-year-old son Liam, who said he simply could not take any more cuts.