THOUSANDS of trade unionists have taken to the streets across Ireland to insist the country's multi-billion debt woes have not been solved by this week's deal with Europe's banking chiefs.
Long-planned Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) rallies to protest at spending cuts brought about by the banking crisis went ahead despite the negotiated changes to how the state repays the colossal bill racked up from its rescue of toxic lenders.
Union leaders insist the agreement does not alter the fact that taxpayers are still footing the bill for the bankers' failures.
As a result they pressed ahead with plans for rallies in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Waterford and Sligo.
ICTU General Secretary David Begg said: "It would be fatal for people to believe this issue is now resolved and we can all move on."
He added: "February 9 is an opportunity to tell the authorities in Europe that the bank debt does not belong to the people of Ireland.
"At the onset of the crisis Ireland had one of the lowest debt to GDP ratios in Europe. The difference between then and now is due entirely to Ireland socialising bank debt at the behest of the ECB, to save the European banking system."