Tuesday 27 September 2016

'Athens, Athens, we're with you,' say protestors

Claire Mc Cormack

Published 05/07/2015 | 02:30

Demonstrators gather during a rally organized by supporters of the No vote in Athens, as more than 1,000 protestors gathered in solidarity with the people of Greece at a demonstration outside the Central Bank in Dublin yesterday (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
Demonstrators gather during a rally organized by supporters of the No vote in Athens, as more than 1,000 protestors gathered in solidarity with the people of Greece at a demonstration outside the Central Bank in Dublin yesterday (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

More than 1,000 protestors gathered in solidarity with the people of Greece at a demonstration outside the Central Bank in Dublin yesterday.

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The event, organised by the Greek Solidarity Committee, was supported by anti-austerity groups, politicians and former rugby international Trevor Hogan.

The protestors, including many Greek nationals, loudly chanted "Athens, Athens we're with you, we're against the Troika too," as they marched from Dame Street, via Grafton Street to Leinster House.

Speaking to the Sunday Independent, Trevor Hogan said he felt compelled to address the issue. "Greece are shining a light on our problems in Ireland and wider Europe and it's a massive inspiration for me and the rest of the people here. We want to drive change" he said.

While addressing the crowd, Mr Hogan, TD Ruth Coppinger and protest organiser Ronan Burtenshaw were critical of the Government and austerity measures "hammered" on to Irish citizens.

"The Government boast about what has happened here as if it's something to be proud of. We want a re-shaping of the EU so it's a union for the ordinary people rather than a union for the elite, the banks and austerity vultures," said Mr Hogan, who intends to continue contributing to the solidarity movement.

Katerina Efstathiou, a 28-year-old from Athens, came to Ireland three years ago to find work and to help support her family in Greece.

"I came here to find a job, to have a chance and to live as a human, not as a slave," she said.

Ms Efstathiou, who works for Lufthansa Airlines, said her mother, father, brother and sister are surviving on just €700 a month.

"They are living in fear. I send them packages, money mostly, I want to feel like I'm able to help," said Katerina who is "emotionally crushed" by the situation but feels more useful to her family by staying in Ireland than returning to Greece.

Meanwhile, Dr Laurence Cox, a lecturer at Maynooth University, said that if the Greeks vote yes in today's bailout referendum, they are "condemning themselves, and Ireland, to more of an unsustainable situation".

Marching through the crowd of Greek flags, Mary Ryder, from Dublin 8, described the crisis as a "man-made human tragedy".

"This is about us too. The debt will fall just on future generations, this is not a modern democracy, we all have to fight austerity," she said.

Sunday Independent

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