Tuesday 16 July 2019

Protest against Taoiseach called off early due to low turnout

‘Not My Taoiseach’ was organised on social media as a planned demonstration against Leo Varadkar’s policies as Irish leader.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (Niall Carson/PA)
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (Niall Carson/PA)

By Aoife Moore and Cate McCurry, Press Association

There was disappointment in Dublin city centre after a planned protest against the Irish leader was called off early due to low turnout.

The protest, under the slogan “Not My Taoiseach”, was organised on social media as a planned demonstration against Leo Varadkar’s policies.

The organising page on social media stated: “Come and stand in solidarity with those affected by his bad management and poor decisions…come stand with those affected by his words and his complete lack of compassion for the people of Ireland.”

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Gardai on duty outside Leinster House (Niall Carson/PA)

The demonstration, which had more than 2,000 respondents say they were attending on Facebook, saw around 30 people gather outside Leinster House.

Despite the small turnout, a large number of Gardai blocked off the roads surrounding the main gates to Leinster House, and erected barricades along Kildare Street.

Lisa Breslin, 33, from Brittas, said: “I’m a little bit disappointed at the low turnout but what we have to take from today is the fact that the government heard – the guards have blocked every road and we made an impact.

“It would be much better if there were more people on the street. People are very upset and concerned but that’s the problem in Ireland, we can all be angry and upset but we don’t get out and put our faces in front of the Dail.

“I feel it’s been slightly successful.

“The van that was carrying the sound equipment was stopped and it’s not here so I’m not sure what happened. We have no sound equipment or signage now for this protest.”

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A woman holds a sign saying “Leo Out” in Irish during a protest outside Leinster House (Niall Carson/PA)

Christi, who didn’t want to give his surname, is a 47-year-old from Dublin, and claimed Mr Varadkar only cares about one section of society.

“This is about fighting for the rights of the Irish people and I came here to stand up for our rights, my rights and my daughter’s rights, he said.

“The Taoiseach just looks after the rich people, he doesn’t care about us and the lower class people.

“It’s getting out of hand. We need new people in government – there must be another solution to this.”

James Redmond, 61, who travelled from Wicklow, said: “I don’t like the way things are going on in this country, and the way the Taoiseach is running the government.

“I’d like to see them get rid of the government and bring in someone new.”

After the protest, organisers online thanked those who had turned out, and noted that many of those who said they would attend may have had work or other commitments on a Tuesday afternoon.

The Taoiseach’s office has been approached for comment.

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