Thousands attend anti-water charges protest in Dublin
Crowd in city centre urged to vote for Right2Change candidates in general election
Several thousand people took to the streets of Dublin on Saturday in protest against water charges ahead of the general election.
There was a large Garda presence on Dame Street and College Green, where the rally gathered to hear from a number of speakers.
Addressing the crowd, Unite organiser Brendan Ogle said it was almost a year since several people who protested against water meters were jailed.
The demonstration, organised by the Right2Change campaign group, started outside the Garden of Remembrance on Parnell Square at 2pm.
The protesters travelled down O’Connell Street and on to the South Quay along Aston Quay, Wellington Quay and Essex Quay.
“The community in Jobstown were vilified by the national media and political establishment. Anti-water charge protesters have been treated with absolute contempt by Joan Burton, the national media and the political establishment,” said Mr Ogle.
Mr Ogle called on the crowd to vote for Right2Water election candidates on polling day next Friday.
“For the first time in our history, people are being offered the opportunity to vote for a real alternative and to vote for change,” he said.
He also asked members of the crowd to donate to those collecting money to help pay the legal costs of those facing charges related to the anti-water charges movement.
The Right2Change movement said more than 100 general election candidates have signed up to its policy principles, the majority of whom are representing Sinn Féin.
Right2Change is backed by trade unions including Mandate, Unite, the Communications Workers’ Union, the Technical Engineering and Electrical Union, and the Civil and Public Services Union.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s march, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said, “in the last weekend of the campaign Enda Kenny and the Government parties are ratcheting up their scare tactics. Their policy positions have no credibility because for the vast majority of families there is no recovery.
“Enda Kenny wants to be returned to power to continue his austerity policies and his chaotic management of the health service. There is a better way to govern our society. To build a fair recovery and a better Ireland, ” Mr Adams said.
Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy tweeted: “Huge turnout today for #Right2Water protest. A funeral march for Labour and the birth of a new socialist left that won’t sell-out.”