Broad-based protests against budget


HUNDREDS OF demonstrators are expected to gather outside Leinster House tomorrow evening as several protests converge on the Dáil ahead of the budget.

A coalition of socialist groups known as the “1 per cent Network” says it expects large numbers of people to take part in its demonstration against expected cuts in wages, social welfare and public sector services.

The network, which includes Éirígí, the Irish Socialist Network and the Workers Solidarity Movement, says it derives its name from the fact that 1 per cent of the population controls more than one-third of the State’s wealth.

“Right now ordinary people are being sacrificed on the altar of international capitalism. We absolutely must step up the protests against what’s being done to us,” said Gregor Kerr, the network’s spokesman.

The protest march is due to begin at the Wolfe Tone statue on St Stephen’s Green at 5.30pm tomorrow and finish at the gates of Leinster House, where it is expected it will be joined by other left-wing groups, trade unions and community activists.

Among them is a protest organised by the “Right to Work” campaign, which is due to march from Parnell Square at 7pm and will finish at Government Buildings.

Among the groups involved are the People Before Profit Alliance, the Unite trade union, as well as members of Labour Youth.

A planned march by community activists from Mullingar to Dublin – which was due to start tomorrow – has been cancelled due to weather conditions. Instead, it says many will protest outside the Dáil, while a “community spectacle” is planned for O’Connell Street at 7pm on Friday evening to highlight cuts to dozens of community groups in disadvantaged communities.

The People’s Movement group – which is opposed to a federal EU – is due to launch a pre-budget protest at 1pm today, marching from the European Commission offices on Molesworth Street to the Dáil.

“Reform directed and owned by the people,” was the message given at the first meeting of another group seeking to re-establish the State as a second republic.

Up to 80 people attended the meeting at the Gresham Hotel in Dublin on Saturday where a group called “The Second Republic” debated plans to establish a national people-led convention to re-examine the institutions of politics in Ireland.

Organiser of the event Oliver Moran said, “We’re looking for the people to be given a chance to come together and to discuss what has gone wrong in the country and to bring that forward into political reform.”

Separately, a protest based on the Icelandic “pots and pans” movement took place outside the Dáil at 2pm on Saturday.

Up to 60 people gathered on Kildare Street banging pots, pans and drums for two hours in opposition to the Government’s bailout of the banks.

The protest, which was good-natured, had been promoted through the social networking site, Facebook earlier in the week. Organisers said a second pots and pans event would take place outside the Dáil at 3pm tomorrow.