Protesters call for general strike


The People Before Profit Alliance has called for a general strike along with a movement of civil disobedience across the country.

Speaking to about 60 protesters outside the Department of Finance today, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown councillor, Richard Boyd Barrett called on people to make their voices heard in the coming weeks.

"We need to stay on the streets until this Government is driven from office, and we want to nail the lie that there is no money in this country. That is a lie that is being used to bully and intimidate people," Mr Barrett said.

"Credible estimates by economists in this country suggest that there are €100 to €120 billion in accumulated wealth, assets, cash, bonds and property assets in the hands of the top 5 per cent of the population of this country. Put even a five percent tax on that money and you get the six billion that they are planning to take off the pensioners and poor of this country."

The protest first gathered outside the Department of Finance at 12.30pm before moving to the Merrion Hotel across the road - as one protester put it "to ruin their (politicians') lunch."

Simultaneously, a separate Sinn Féin protest was being held outside the Department of the Taoiseach. After the People Before Profit Alliance protesters moved to outside the same department, it meant close to 100 protesters were eventually present outside.

The organisers expressed the hope people will come out in their thousands on Saturday for the workers' protest march to the GPO in O'Connell Street and that the Ictu will be convinced to call a general strike.

Actor and satirist Morgan C Jones has called on people to participate in a silent protest outside Leinster House at midday tomorrow carrying placards with the message "you're fired" for the Government.

Impact trade union has called on the public to turn out en masse for an Ictu national protest rally in Dublin which, it said, would be “the last chance we have to express broad public support for a more sane approach in advance of next month’s budget”.

It said plans to reduce the minimum wage and widen the tax base will impoverish thousands of people.

Impact said the proposal to further reduce pay for new public service entrants was additional attack on low income families by a Government focused on saving the banks.

“The measures outlined today are driven by the obsession with bailing out zombie banks rather than the need to stimulate economic activity to create jobs, get us out of recession, and get the public finances back in balance,” Impact general secretary Shay Cody said.

Siptu described the plan as an intensification of the “failed economic policies of the past two years”.

The union’s president Jack O’Connor said the plan’s most glaring deficiency was the absence of any proposals for public investment and unsubstantiated expectation of dramatic growth in the private sector.

“Apart from this gaping deficiency the plan also contains a range of measures which will severely penalise lower income earners and the most vulnerable people in our community through cuts to the minimum wage and social welfare,” he said.