After thousands turned out to protest the cost of living crisis over the weekend, Budget Day was a subdued affair.
The cost of erecting the steel barrier had been an unnecessary expense with just a handful of protesters outside Leinster House, rather than the hoards who had apparently been anticipated to turn up today.
First to arrive were three people from Extinction Rebellion, with Patrick O’Connor from the Eco Village in Cloughjordan, Co Tipperary, playing the part of a spoof politician to announce a true green budget for a ‘Livable future.
In reality, he said we are treating climate change “like a problem, not a crisis”.
He said the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has warned there is “a brief and narrow window of time to act to secure a Livable Future” – but it has to be now.
“This is actually us going through some of the detail of where we could actually find performance to make the transition that's needed. So what are the simple things like abolishing fossil fuel subsidies, general investing in regenerative agriculture?”
He said he would like to see a department to supervise a just transition all over the country.
A retired woman, who preferred not to give her name, was there to protest aviation emissions, saying the Government is not doing enough to tackle this scourge which wipes out any gains made by the use of bio fuel.
“I’ve been campaigning on this since I have retired – I just threw myself into it. Somebody has to,” she said.
From the National Animal Rights Association, Diane Keevans, Laura Broxson and Suzanne Martin said they were always outside the Department of Agriculture every Tuesday – but it just so happened to be Budget Day.
They were there to protest against hare coursing – and to build awareness ahead of a Dáil vote in December.
Tipperary, Cork and Limerick are the centres of hare coursing in Ireland, said Diane.
“We would love to have seen more funding for animal rescue organisations in the Budget and we would love them to stop funding horse racing and greyhound racing,” said Laura.
“All this when there are not even enough women’s refuges in the country,” Diane added.
Eve Bracken from Dundalk, who is seeking for her mother’s death to be thoroughly investigated, has been a regular presence outside the Dáil since December 2019 and was back again for Budget Day.
Margaret Bracken (68) was found in her home in Blackwater Court on the morning of December 16, 2019.
Her family had made repeated efforts to contact her before alerting gardaí who had to force open a doorway before finding Margaret’s naked body behind the door.
Although the discovery was treated as a sudden death, her family say they believe Margaret died following a struggle with a handbag thief, and have tirelessly campaigned to have the investigation of her death reopened.
“We are trying to get her body exhumed,” said Eve.