Friday 24 February 2017

Organisers of insurance 'monster rally' insist it is not a flop despite tiny turnout

Meadhbh McGrath

Despite a disappointing turnout at yesterday’s protest against rising car insurance costs, organisers said they “are not giving up” .

The demonstration, organised by motoring blog Ireland Underground, hoped to see thousands of cars making their way to Dublin from across the country.

There was so much interest in the event that the rallying point had to be moved from Kildare Street to Merrion Square.

Organiser Kian Griffin (25) said earlier this week: “We are expecting 6,000 cars from all parts of the country to turn up.”

With multiple passengers in each car, it was estimated that the event would draw up to 15,000 people.

While close to 2,500 people had responded to an online campaign to say they would attend the rally, far fewer turned up on the day, as just 100 people gathered at Merrion Square to hear speeches from opposition TDs.

Among the speakers was Sinn Fein MEP Lynn Boylan, who addressed the rally and urged protestors “not to be disheartened” by the poor turnout.

“Don’t be disillusioned by the small crowd. This is not a reflection of how big an issue this is,” Fianna Fáil TD John Lahart added.

Mr Griffin, who started the Ireland Underground blog, admitted he was disappointed with the size of the crowd.

“It’s a bit disappointing the turnout, but it’s not as if it’s a failure because we have got a lot of coverage in the national media, we have brought the issue to the fore,” he told Independent.ie.

“It’s been discussed in the Dail and there’s been a lot of traction on social media, so this is the trickle before the flood, it’s the beginning of something not the end.”

Mr Griffin noted that although the Dáil will soon take a summer recess, he and other activists fighting against car insurance premiums will “keep working in the background”.

“We want to make sure the conversation keeps going and isn’t forgotten about when they come back again in September,” he said.

He added that he would consider planning a second demonstration later in the year.

“We’ll see what the feeling is like in September. If there is significant progress, there won’t be need for another protest, but if there isn’t we will keep coming back again and again until this is resolved.”

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