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City businesses demand removal of Occupy protesters 'to save jobs'

A group of businesses have launched a campaign to get rid of Occupy Dame Street protesters who have been camped outside the Central Bank for four months.

Frank McQuade, who owns three clothes shops on Fownes Street in Dublin's Temple Bar next to the encampment, has rallied neighbouring shops against the movement, which he claims is driving customers away.

He claims the Occupy movement is risking up to 50 jobs. "They're no more than a bunch of people sitting on crates," Mr McQuade claimed.

The businessman -- a spokesman for 13 Fownes Street Residents and Traders' Association members -- has sent a letter to the Central Bank, calling for protesters to be removed.

Occupy Dame Street set up camp in November in protest against what they describe as financial greed, corruption and the Government's forced austerity on Ireland.

It has also opposed Government plans to pay €6.3bn to unsecured bondholders in a bid to wipe the debts of the collapsed Anglo Irish Bank.

As the Government prepares to hand over the next instalment of taxpayers' money to cover the nationalised bank's debts tomorrow, the movement has stepped up its protest with a non-violent civil disobedience blockade, at the former Anglo's St Stephen's Green headquarters.

Occupy Dame Street spokesman Steven Bennett said the protesters had bent over backwards to address the shopowners' concerns.

"We have met with them. They had some complaints and we tried to be accommodating," Mr Bennett said.

Some shops and businesses on Dame Street have supported the movement, providing protesters with water, food and internet access.

Bondholder protest: Pages 34 & 35

Irish Independent