Saturday 16 December 2017

Gardaí outnumber protesters outside the Dáil

Gardaí on duty at Leinster House yesterday. Photo: Tom Burke
Gardaí on duty at Leinster House yesterday. Photo: Tom Burke
Adam Cullen

Adam Cullen

A fortress of steel barriers and stern looking gardaí surrounded the entrance to Leinster House in anticipation of Budget Day protesters yesterday.

But through the sea of bright luminous high vis jackets and barricades, fewer than 10 could be seen.

All that was missing from Kildare Street and the roads surrounding Government Buildings was a tumbleweed plant gently rolling along the ground. A huge garda operation had been put in place in anticipation of a series of protests which had been organised by a loose coalition of activist groups and anti-austerity protesters.

However, there was an eerie sense of calm as ministers Michael Noonan and Brendan Howlin delivered their speeches to the Dáil safe in the knowledge that outside gardaí outnumbered protesters tenfold.

Last year, scores of protesters voiced their opinions as the Government announced where our money would be going in the coming year.

Anti-Irish Water protesters have made up the largest swathe of protesters in recent years.

However, just one was on hand yesterday. What a difference a year makes.

Anti Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy said he wasn't "concerned at all" by the low turnout on Budget Day.

"We didn't organise a protest for today [Tuesday]," he told the Irish Independent.

"But if we had of done there would have been more people there.

"I can't say how many, but there definitely would have been more."

Mr Murphy stressed that water protesters had "not missed an opportunity" to stage a protest on Budget Day.

Murphy added that the group had "just had a large-scale protest at the end of August."

Irish Independent

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