Friday 17 November 2017

Thousands expected to march in protest against cuts

Thousands of workers are expected to march through Dublin tomorrow as part of a national demonstration against Government cuts.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) is staging the mass rally to show support for its proposals on alternative ways to tackle the economic crisis.

Motorists and shoppers were warned roads would be closed around Wood Quay and along the south quays to O'Connell Street's GPO - where the 1916 Proclamation of Independence was read.

Jimmy Kelly, of Unite trade union, said the location was fitting as people struggle to take back responsibility for their future from a failed political leadership.

He called on all workers, community groups, families and people who believe in a positive future, to take to the streets from noon.

"Saturday's protest is organised by the trade unions that represent the biggest single social group in the state," said Mr Kelly.

"It needs to reach beyond that though, to every home, every group, every gathering in this country."

He said the Government's drastic €15bn four-year savings plan took a savage swipe at low and middle income families - while ICTU focused on job creation, investment and growth. A six billion euro budget is also due to hit households next month.

Garda Chief Superintendent Michael O'Sullivan said his priority was to ensure a peaceful environment for demonstrators, visitors, shoppers and city centre workers.

"Recent experience has shown that while it is possible for thousands of people to assemble and march through the streets of Dublin in a dignified and civilised manner, there are individuals and groups who seek to exploit such events for their own ends," he said.

"I want to reassure the community that Gardai are both alert to and prepared for this possibility.

"While our policing plan is primarily focused on crowd safety, it will also aim to prevent any disruption of tomorrow's demonstration."

He warned gardai would also gather evidence of any unlawful or criminal behaviour to bring people before the courts.

Elsewhere Chambers Ireland claimed ICTU had a major role in delivering the unsustainable structural deficit that the Government faced.

Sean Murphy, deputy chief executive, said: "ICTU played a pivotal role in driving the public service pay and pensions bill to unsustainable levels via benchmarking. They never engaged to drive necessary savings from the Croke Park Agreement until it was too late.

"ICTU must start setting realistic expectations with their members and not give them false hope."

Press Association

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