Protesters disrupt council meeting
A meeting of Cork City Council was abandoned in disarray tonight as a crowd of anti-household and water tax campaigners occupied the public gallery.
Gardaí were called after a group claiming to number in the region of 100 people arrived and unfurled a banner bearing the words: “Axe the tax or watch your vote collapse”.
Campaigners appeared to target Labour party members with the chant of “Labour, Labour, Labour, out out out” and “no way we won’t pay”.
With three Fianna Fáil councillors remaining in the council chamber the campaigners insisted they would not leave. A stand off then took place with members of the gardaí attempting to clear the room.
The Garda Press Office later confirmed the council chamber was cleared peacefully shortly after 10 pm.
Campaigner John Lonergan told The Irish Times the protest was organised in a bid to secure an answer to the question of where the taxes were being spent. He also said they wanted to send “a clear message” that there would be a “fight against the property tax when it is introduced later this year”.
A statement issued by the Socialist Party, which quoted Mr Lonergan, claimed the protesters were “ordinary members of the Cork public who have simply decided not to take it lying down anymore”.
Socialist councillor Mick Barry said the protest was a result of “what the people have had to put up with over the past five years”. He declined to say if he had been aware in advance of the protest.