'Occupy Dame Street' campaign prepared for long haul


WITH PROTESTERS planning to stay “as long as it takes” and no official complaints to the relevant authorities lodged against them, “Occupy Dame Street” looks set to remain outside the Central Bank in Dublin for the foreseeable future.

The protesters set up their camp on the plaza outside the Central Bank more than three weeks ago.

According to Dublin City Council, the area “occupied” is outside its jurisdiction as it is clear of the public footpath. While the council confirmed it had received one complaint from a business located behind the bank, it maintained it was not in a position to act.

“As it is private property, Dublin City Council has no authority to move these people,” a spokeswoman said.

The camp is located on property belonging to the bank and as such it is a matter between the bank and the Garda, she added.

Gardaí during the week said that no complaint had been lodged and added that, while they were monitoring the situation, there were no incidents of unlawful behaviour to report.

The protesters had remained “well behaved”, a Garda spokesman said.

When contacted, the bank refused to say whether a complaint had or would be made by it.

The Garda declined to provide an update on the situation yesterday, but added it was in touch with the bank and protesters.

The protest’s “tent town” on Dame Street was erected on October 8th in solidarity with the “Occupy Wall Street” protest, which started in New York in September.

Some three weeks after forming, “Occupy Dame Street” has no clear set of demands. Despite this, it has been joined by similar protests across the State such as in Galway and Waterford.

Among the protesters in Dublin is the son of former president Mary Robinson, Aubrey Robinson.

According to those involved, the aim for the present is to provide a platform for discussion out of which they hope a consensus will eventually arise.

What has been agreed so far is that the current global capitalist system is not working and a new way forward needs to be found.

Meanwhile, the camp is preparing for the long haul, with rotas designed to manage all the necessary tasks such as security, clean-up, cooking, event planning, media consultation and the movement’s overall direction.

The rotas also allow for the protesters to leave the site occasionally, giving them a chance to wash and sleep indoors.

Numbers on site have varied from time to time, according to the protesters.

They also said a decision had been made not to provide names during interviews so as to avoid the perception that the group had a leader or spokesperson.

On average during the week, between 20 and 30 people are on site outside the bank but protesters said that number could swell to up to 150 during the weekend, when people had more free time.

“We will be here as long as it takes,” one protester said.

“Personally I think it will go into next year some time,” said another.